by Theodore Taylor
- Reading level: Ages 9-12
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (February 8, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400099064
- ISBN-13: 978-1400099061
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Description from School site: When a freighter to the United States is torpedoed during World War II, an 11-year-old boy is blinded and stranded with an elderly black man who teaches him survival skills.Review: I didn’t have the “product description” so the story was a pleasant surprise for me.
Phillip Enright lives with his parents on the island of Curaçao where his father works for Royal Dutch Shell. There is a threat of a German invasion and Mrs. Enright decides to take Phillip back to the states. When the ship they are traveling on is torpedoed, Phillip is separated from his mother and left floating on a wooden raft with Timothy, a black man from the West Indies. The two drift to a small cay where they are left to survive with only a small amount of food salvaged from the ship. Phillip, who is blinded by a head injury, must depend on Timothy to stay alive. Though Phillip has been reared to be prejudiced against blacks, his attitude changes as Timothy teaches him to be independent in spite of his blindness.
Phillip doesn’t want to leave his father in Curacao but his mother insists on fleeing the WWII battles. However their ship is torpedoed and 11 year old Phillip ends up on a raft with Timothy and a hardy cat. Phillip was raised with elite white man prejudices against the blacks. Timothy turns out to be an elderly black man and Phillip isn’t quite sure what to make of him. But Timothy is the young boy’s only hope for survival, especially after he is blinded by an injury.
Timothy is practical in his approach to survival and beaches the raft over the protests of Phillip. He sets up shelter and forages for food. Then he patiently but persistently trains Phillip to pitch in and learn the details of survival. They even face a hurricane during which they have to lash themselves to keep from being swept away.
It took just a bit to get used to the accented narration. However the narrator does a very good job catching the exuberance and fear of the boy and the tired, sometimes subserviant but mostly wise and gruff negro. The story moved along quickly and I think it would be an enjoyable read, and an even better audio listen, for middle school children as well as adults.
This was a free summer download at AudioBook Community -
SYNC YA Listening. I am excited to read/listen to several books I might not otherwise have gotten. I will be posting more of these for review in the future. Thanks to SYNC YA and Audiobook Community.