The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell by Kathy-jo Wargin, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell

The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell

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by Kathy-jo Wargin, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
     
 

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Leaving port from Superior, Wisconsin on a sunny November day, the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald is looking forward to a routine crossing of deep Lake Superior. Heading for a port in Cleveland, the giant transport ship is loaded with ore that will be used to build cars. But disaster is building in the wind as a gale storm begins to track after the great ship. This

Overview

Leaving port from Superior, Wisconsin on a sunny November day, the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald is looking forward to a routine crossing of deep Lake Superior. Heading for a port in Cleveland, the giant transport ship is loaded with ore that will be used to build cars. But disaster is building in the wind as a gale storm begins to track after the great ship. This suspenseful retelling of the last hours of the doomed vessel pays homage to all sailors who traverse deep waters, in fair skies and foul. Atmospheric paintings from award-winning artist Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen bring the story to life.The author of the best-selling books The Legend of Sleeping Bear and The Legend of Mackinac Island, Kathy-jo Wargin aims to help young readers notice the most intricate details of a story by adding the nuances that create magic and wonder in a good tale. She lives in the woods of northern Michigan with her family. The Edmund Fitzgerald is her 10th book with Sleeping Bear Press. Born in the Netherlands, Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, or "Nick" as he prefers to be known, studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in Holland. He immigrated to the United States in 1976. The Edmund Fitzgerald is Nick's 13th children's book with Sleeping Bear Press. The Legend of Sleeping Bear was Nick's first book and has sold more than 200,000 copies.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Van Frankenhuyzen's exceptionally beautiful paintings underscore the pathos and drama of the story. —Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
In a book likely to hold chiefly regional appeal, Wargin and van Frankenhuyzen (previously teamed for The Legend of Sleeping Bear) grapple with the tragic true story of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a cargo ship that sailed Lake Superior and sank in November 1975. As a raging storm engulfs his vessel, the captain maintains radio contact with the captain of the nearby Arthur M. Anderson, informing him of his dire situation. Approaching a dangerous shoal, the Fitzgerald loses first its long-range and then its short-range radar, begins "taking on" water and can no longer detect the radio-direction beacon from land, leaving the ship "blind in the storm." Shortly after the captain of the Fitzgerald radios the Anderson to say, "We are holding our own," however, his ship, with all 29 men aboard, simply (and disturbingly) disappears. Despite the dramatic subject, the narrative is often dry, with some occasional color added by the interspersed rhymed couplets that make up the "Song of the Bell" of the subtitle ("The battered bell rang as the storm held its grip-/ It rang for the men as the heart of the ship"). Van Frankenhuyzen's realistic paintings convey the ferocity of the storm, yet similar images of the dark, tumultuous lake water grow repetitive and unfortunately lose their punch. Ages 6-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In a bland and straightforward manner, this informational book tells of the departure of the largest ship ever to sail the Great Lakes, from 1958 to 1971. Then, in 1975, departing from Duluth and loaded with 26 thousand tons of taconite, refined iron ore used to make cars in Detroit, the ship lost its depth radar plus the lighthouse beam toward which it made its way lost its power, and the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a quick-rising storm. Some adults may know of this event from Gordon Lightfoot's song of the same name. The author pins the story on the ship's bell that was recovered from the wreck in 1995 and is now placed in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan. The bell rang the watches and was lovingly polished each day. To accent the bell's importance, italicized couplets bring the reader out of the informational text and into a dirge-like poetic echoing refrain. The reportage memorializes some of the 29 men, many by name, who sailed the ship, and all of those names are written fittingly on the endpapers. The use of many place names cries out for a map of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Peninsula, Duluth, Gary, Indiana, and the Detroit River but the only map is a painted rendition of a section of the navigational map showing the two islands between which the ship sank. Young readers unsure of their geography will get no help here. Painted artwork reveals the canvas texture and is dark, full of crashing waves, and renditions of the ship from many angles but evokes little emotion. An afterword tells that the families "were very sad when the ship was lost" and so created a memorial. While the book gets the job done, it will be more likely used inregional studies or as a traveler's souvenir than as a dramatic account of a worthy vessel's demise. 2003, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 8 to 12.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A picture book about the sinking of the cargo ship Edmund Fitzgerald during a storm on Lake Superior in 1975. The vessel's bell, which eventually became a memorial to the lost sailors, is the focal point of the narrative. Tension builds steadily as the story unfolds. Members of the crew are introduced by name, and the fictionalized dialogue makes the story more immediate and true to life. Conversation, largely between Captain McSorley and the captain and first mate of the Arthur M. Anderson, another ship on the lake at the time, is undocumented. A poem interspersed throughout the text creates a sentimental, disjointed effect. Endpapers list names, positions, and hometowns of the men, and an afterword by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society describes how the bell was retrieved and became a memorial. Paintings show the movement and danger of the lake, and different angles are used to capture the drama of the tragedy. This title should be considered an additional purchase where there is regional demand.-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585361267
Publisher:
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
09/01/2003
Series:
Sleeping Bear -- True Stories
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
191,275
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 11.36(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

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