SATURDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2013

Navigating Early

comment   | print |


Navigating Early
by Clare Vanderpool
written for ages 11-14 | recommended
published in 2013 | Delacorte Books for Young Readers | 320 pages

Jack Baker is lost. Well, not really. However, after the sudden death of his mother and the move from Kansas to Maine with his naval captain father, Jack certainly feels lost. While Captain Baker is stationed at a local shipyard, Jack must attend Morton Hill Academy, a boarding school for boys. Accustomed to wheat fields and farmland, Jack finds adjusting to life by the sea challenging. All of his classmates are first rate sailors, including Early Auden, a mysterious boy who rarely comes to class and has a unique way of looking at the most ordinary things.

A bit of a recluse, Early has highly refined observation skills and an extremely underdeveloped sense of tact. Jack soon discovers, however, that Early is loyal, accepting and forgiving. When they accidentally are left alone at school during vacation, Early welcomes Jack's companionship on his adventure along the Appalachian Trail to track a great black bear. The challenges of living outdoors and the danger presented by some unsavory characters force Jack and Early to rely on their wits and each other. Along the way, the boys meet a variety of souls, all of them lost in one way or another. These encounters bring the boys face to face with their own sorrows and fears.

Jack's journey with his new friend teaches him to accept others and himself. The guilt and resentment he felt after his mother's death begin to sort themselves out, and he understands that his father loves him in his own way. Former Newbery award winner Clare Vanderpool takes a series of apparently unrelated details and ties them together neatly while keeping her readers guessing.

Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | adventure, boys, family, forgiveness, friendship

This article is published by Jennifer Minicus and MercatorNet under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 
comments powered by Disqus
 

Reading Matters is MercatorNet’s blog about children’s literature. Our goal is to enable parents and educators to find quality books for young people. For an explanation of our evaluation system, click here. We welcome reader input and new reviewers. We love comments on the book reviews. Write to us at jennifer.minicus@mercatornet.com.


Search this blog

rss RSS feed of posts

 our picks for
2-7 years 13-16 years
7-10 years 15-18 years
9-12 years 18 and over
11-14 years all ages

 our standards
highly recommended: you must read this!
recommended: age-appropriate and entertaining
acceptable: not outstanding but not problematic
some reservations: contains potentially problematic scenes or concepts
not recommended: not appropriate for intended readers


Follow MercatorNet
Facebook
Twitter
Newsletters
Sections and Blogs
Harambee
PopCorn
Conjugality
Careful!
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
Information
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
donate
advice for writers
New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2
5 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137
Australia

editor@mercatornet.com
+61 2 8005 8605
skype: mercatornet
© New Media Foundation 2014 | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston