( 11 )


Tony can hardly believe it. He's sailing with the wind, maneuvering through the narrow channels between the offshore islands with amazing skill. And he'sjust learned to sail! But suddenly Tony is confused. Which way had he come? Which way is he headed? And who are the mysterious couple with the high powered motor boat who are to busy searching beneath the water to answer his call for help?

Tony does some searching on his own. What he discovers leads him on a daring hunt for a ...

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Tony can hardly believe it. He's sailing with the wind, maneuvering through the narrow channels between the offshore islands with amazing skill. And he'sjust learned to sail! But suddenly Tony is confused. Which way had he come? Which way is he headed? And who are the mysterious couple with the high powered motor boat who are to busy searching beneath the water to answer his call for help?

Tony does some searching on his own. What he discovers leads him on a daring hunt for a 200-year-old shipwreck . . . and a dangerous confrontation with treasure hunters who will stop at nothing to keep Tony from learning their secret.

While learning to sail during a visit to his grandmother's at the Connecticut shore, eleven-year-old Tony becomes excited about the rumors of sunken treasure in the area and starts following a couple who seem to be making a mysterious search for something.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Avi keeps the action moving.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Newbery Honor author offers a potent brew of mystery and adventure in this tale of an 11-year-old boy involved in a search for a centuries-old shipwreck. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-- Tony Souza, 11, uses his paper route earnings to buy a 12-foot sailboat that he takes with him when he spends part of the summer with his grandmother on the Connecticut shore. During his stay, he learns to sail and becomes intrigued by tales of buried treasure in the area. He and his grandmother learn more about the treasure, and he begins to piece together clues to its whereabouts. As he hunts, Tony encounters a couple who are illegally diving for the treasure, and they warn him away from their boat with an attack on his sailboat. After being lost in a storm, he puts together the final clues only to be captured by the villains and then, predictably, rescued in the nick of time. While this brief novel begins with a 1777 shipwreck that precipitates the modern story, the events of past and present are too neatly drawn together. The characterization and suspense of Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Orchard, 1990) are absent here. Even so, for readers in search of an accessible adventure story, this will provide satisfaction. --Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380718054
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 228,278
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.


Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Dad," Tony Souza said, "what's money for if you can't spend it?" It was a Saturday, the first day of summer vacation, but to Tony his vacation already felt like a disaster.

"Keep your money in the bank," his father said. He was unloading the dish rack.

"Dad," Tony pressed, "if you had gotten up every morning at six for a year, delivered newspapers, got wet, got cold, fought off dogs, and made collections from people who didn't want to pay, you'd want to use the money you earned the way you wanted, wouldn't you?"

"Tony, people are not allowed on roads with a motor vehicle until they are fifteen. A motor scooter is a motor vehicle. You are eleven."

"Then what am I going to do with the three hundred dollars I made?"

"I gave you a suggestion.

Tony sat on the front steps. In one week, according to his parents' plan, he would go for a twenty-one-day stay at his grandma's house on the Connecticut shore. When he had been younger, it was fun to learn to swim and to sit on a beach all day. And Grandma Souza — though her English was sort of embarrassing — was all right. But now, Tony didn't know any kids where she lived. And he hated doing things alone. It would be a bore.

Back from Connecticut, he would go with his parents on their annual camping trip with Uncle Umberto and his family. Tony grimaced. The only thing worse than being with no kids was being with babies.

That would leave only two weeks before school began. Some vacation.

Tony stuck his head inside the house. "I'm going over to Jamal's!" he shouted.

When Tony slumped up Jamal's driveway,Rick, Jamal's older brother, was working on the red motorbike. Jamal was there, too.

"They going to let you buy it?" Jamal called.

Tony shook his head.

"Too bad," Rick said. "This baby isn't going to last long. Got two calls this morning from my newspaper ad. "

Tony wandered back down to the street.

Jamal ran after him. "What are you going to do with that money?"

"I'll think of something."

"What happens if your parents change their minds?"

"They won't."

"Want to watch TV?" Jamal suggested. "Play ball? Should be some guys at the park."

Tony hesitated. The thought of being with friends was tempting. But spending his money was urgent. "Later," he said. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he set off.

First he went -into a bicycle shop. Then a sports shop. After that it was a toy store that carried computer games. Then there was the Mart. As Tony wandered up and down the long aisles, everything seemed like junk.

Then he saw it. It was a sailboat — no more than twelve feet in length — hanging from the ceiling. Made of some plasticlike stuff, its outside was blue, its inside white. A wooden rudder was at the back. The mast was metal. The sail bore red letters which proclaimed the boat's name: Snark. A large price tag dangled from the hull.


The moment Tony saw the boat, he knew, sure as he knew anything, what he wanted, what he needed, was a Snark.

He ran home and poured out the news of his discovery, telling his parents all the ways the sailboat would make his summer exciting.

When Tony saw them give each other a look, he knew it was not out of the question. He pressed harder, insisting they go to the store right away.

At the Mart, his mother gazed up at the boat and said, "It's like a polystyrene cup with a sail."

"Ma, it's a sailboat! Can I get it?"

"There are some things to check first," his mother returned. "Come on. I have a friend who sails."

"Ma . . . !" Tony wailed again.

"Tony, it's not sailing anywhere."

Once home, Tony's mother called her friend and asked for a reaction to a Snark.

"You can't cross oceans with it," said the friend, "or handle bad weather, but in protected areas it'll do fine. In fact, it's just about perfect for a kid who wants to learn to sail. And you can't beat the price."

When Tony heard the report he did a cartwheel in the dining room, narrowly missing a lamp.

"Cool it!" his father cautioned. "Your mom and I need some privacy to discuss this."

Told to leave the room while they talked, Tony tried to listen through the door to what they were saying. He did hear his father make a call. Speak to someone. Hang up. Then Tony was called back into the room.

"The answer," his mother said, "is yes. . . ."

"If. . . " his father put in quickly, cutting off Tony's cheer, "if certain conditions are met."

"I agree to everything," Tony said.

"We called your grandma for her approval."

"And . . . ?"

His parents exchanged looks. "She said yes," his father said.

"All right!" Tony called.

"Second condition!" his mother said hastily. "We'll pay, but you must have sailing lessons."

"No problem."

"Finally," his father added, "you have to promise — really promise — that whenever you sail, you'll wear a life jacket."

"Dad," Tony pleaded, "I just said, I agree to everything."

Monday morning Tony and his mother went to the bank, withdrew his newspaper money, and headed for the Mart. Heart thumping, Tony counted out fifteen crisp, new twenty-dollar bills onto the counter.

"Plus eighteen dollars tax," the salesperson said.

Tony's heart sank. He looked up at his mother. She looked at him.

"I'll clean the car," Tony said. "And wax it. Three times. "

"I would have paid anyway," she said with a laugh. "But that's a deal." She also purchased a life jacket.

Store people loaded the box with the Snark atop the car. Once home, Tony spent the day...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2000

    A Waterfun-Filled Story

    A great, fun filled story!! Avi makes you feel right on the spot. I recomend this book for all people who like water.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    I loved this book so much. It has a lot of suspense and mystery. Great for ages 9-12. Read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    book review

    Windcatrcher is a very well written book that is very entertaining and the book has an adventurous story line. This book starts to take a setting in Connecticut in the 1990¿s with a boy called Tony Souza. He is convinced himself and his parents that he should buy a sail boat for three hundred dollars that is called the ¿Sharky.¿ When he bought his boat, his parents said he would have to follow some rules and if he wanted to sail he would have to go stay with his grandmother. She lived in Swallows Bay, which is in between New Heaven and New London. When he begged his grandma to let him go sailing, she told him he would have to have an instructor to teach him how to sail. He didn¿t care, he was just excited to get his boat out to sail. He met his instructor and her name was Chris. She was about his age and they got along well. She told him the basics of the boat and then let him explore thee experience of sailing. After a while, after Tony made a few first time sailor mistakes such as ¿capsizing,¿ he started to begin to love sailing and was getting better at it little by little. In the mists of learning how to sail, he started learning about the town and its history. He starts to learn that the town is known for an old shipwreck that occurred two hundred years ago and was never found. He starts to research the information and learns a lot about the wreck. The boat is known as a British ship, which Tony believes, is called the ¿swallows.¿ The reason for the wreck was the ship was said to be sailing during a hurricane and hit rock and sank, which left no survivors. After discovering all this information, Tony is off on an adventurous treasure hunt and runs into a couple that is very suspicious and not very friendly. He finds himself troubled by the couple and he gets suspicious that maybe they¿re looking for treasure also. Throughout the story, he shows his love for sailing like his grandma says, ¿Espero que vece aleance ventro dos seus desejos.¿ Which means he has a love or passion for sailing. In the story he finds himself getting into trouble but exciting adventures and thrills. I recommend this book to all adventurous readers. The story is full of excitement and unexpected twist and turns. This book makes you feel like you are Tony Souza. This book makes you want to go out and sail or go on an adventure and go looking for old wrecked ships and old treasure. This book comes alive when you read it. This is a must read and I wish I could read another book that is just as good or as similar to this book. All I have to say is go to your local library and read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    The Wind Catcher was an outstanding book. I love how Avi always keeps you in suspence. I really enjoy her mystery books. I highly recomend this great book to kids anywhere from 9-12.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2006


    I thought it was a great book, infact Ive never read a book with such an interesting and creative plot to it. It was trully an exellent and intertaining book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2004

    Great Book For You!!!

    I recommend this to others who just love reading.I think it is a great book.I think so and you might too!! Have fun reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2002

    This is an extraordinary book

    This book was great even though i hardly ever read books it was one of the very few that i have accually gotten past the first few chapters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2000

    Water-fun filled book!!

    If you like riding around in boats, you'll like Windcatcher by Avi. Much water fun!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2000

    Great Book For Water-Lovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Avi is such a great writer-he makes reading so much fun. You feel like you are right there on the spot. I recomend all this book for water-lovers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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