When Dad's at Sea

When Dad's at Sea

5.0 2
by Mindy Pelton, Robert Gantt Steele

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Emily's dad is in the military and sometimes he has to leave for months at a time. Emily knows her dad's job is important, but she doesn't want him to leave! Her dad makes her a paper chain to count down the days of his trip.


Emily's dad is in the military and sometimes he has to leave for months at a time. Emily knows her dad's job is important, but she doesn't want him to leave! Her dad makes her a paper chain to count down the days of his trip.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Emily has to deal with a long separation from her father, a Navy pilot, who goes to sea for a six-month deployment. To cope, she tears off a piece of a paper chain every day that he is gone, traces his journey on a map, and communicates with him via e-mail and telephone. With her mother's support and the help of a friend whose father is on the same ship, Emily feels less lonely. Warm text with soft watercolor illustrations results in a sensitive and caring title for those service families who go through long separations from loved ones. However, the Navy reflects the diversity of our country, so it's unfortunate that the book's illustrations don't show it. Still, the book is certainly useful for children needing this type of material.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Steele's impressionistic, delicately colored watercolor paintings sensitively depict Emily and her surroundings."


Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

When Dad's at Sea

By Mindy L. Pelton, Robert Gantt Steele


Copyright © 2004 Mindy L. Pelton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8075-6339-7


Most days, Dad lives with Mom and me in our blue house with an American flag on the porch.

Other days, he lives with pilots, like himself, and sailors on a U.S. Navy ship carrying rows of airplanes.

I miss Dad when he sails to the other side of the world.

All summer long, I knew Dad would have to leave again when school started in the fall. When the time came, he reminded me, "The ship pulls out in three days to go on a cruise."

I felt sad and mad and scared all at once, like a big ball of yarn had gotten tangled inside my stomach. I knew he would be gone for a very long time.

"When are you coming home?" I asked.

Dad said, "I'll be home in six months."

"How many days is that?" I said with a groan.

He thought for a moment; then, his eyes bright-ened. "I know, I'll show you."

Mom, Dad, and I cut strips of colored paper and shaped one circle for each day Dad would be gone. Then, we linked them all together, forming a long chain. Dad drew hearts on the middle circle to show me the halfway point of his cruise. When we were done, we hung the chain like a streamer on the living room walls.

Dad said, "Take off one circle every night, Emily. I'll come back when the chain is gone."

The next three days were sad days. I missed Dad be-fore he even left!

I sat in Mom's chair at mealtimes to be close to him. I watched him pack his clothes into a big metal box with enough toothpaste and shampoo to last forever. Dad winked at me as he folded the pillowcase I painted for Father's Day and stacked it on top of his T-shirts.

I didn't want to fall asleep the night before Dad had to go. Maybe he wouldn't leave if there were no more circles left on the chain. I tiptoed through the darkness into the living room and pulled it off the walls. It fell with a loud swish.

Then I heard the flap, flap, flap of Mom's slippers coming toward me from the hallway.

Quickly, I dragged the chain to my room and hid it under the bed.

The next morning, Dad wore his green flight suit to breakfast. The chain was hidden under my bed, but nothing had changed. He was still leaving!

I ran to my room and tore the circles into tiny pieces. When Dad came in, I turned away.

"Emily," he said, "I know you don't under-stand why I have to go. I don't want to be away from my family, but I have to work in a different place for a while. My job helps keep people safe."

"Don't leave me!" I cried.

Putting his arms around me, Dad said, "When I travel, Mom takes good care of you at home, but I take you with me in my heart."


Excerpted from When Dad's at Sea by Mindy L. Pelton, Robert Gantt Steele. Copyright © 2004 Mindy L. Pelton. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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When Dad's at Sea 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does a great job of relating to children with parents overseas.  It shows them it is okay to be sad, scared, or even angry that their parent is leaving.  It also gives a few ideas to help cope with the time apart, such as emails, phone calls, and visual reminders they are one day closer to coming home.  This is a tough topic to tackle, though unfortunately there are many family who can benefit from this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the perfect book to help children cope with the separation of a parent especially with so many parents over seas in iraq