Ghost of the Southern Belle: A Sea Tale

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9780316026086: Ghost of the Southern Belle: A Sea Tale
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A young boy must challenge LeNoir, the ghost of a sunken ship's captain, in order to save other ships from being raced to their doom in the stormy seas. 12,500 first printing.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4 A rousing ghost story. A bold and crazy sea captain gives a young boy a silver Chinese sphere symbolizing Luck. When the captain's ship crashes on the rocks and sinks, the boy's father won't risk his own vessel to try and rescue the crew. From that day on, the ghost of Captain LeNoir haunts the seas, causing shipwrecks with his ghostly crew and their ship, the Southern Belle. The boy comes up with a plan to stop the haunting, which involves a treacherous sea race and the risky prospect of rescuing the drowning men. His actions free LeNoir and his crew, and as a gift, the boy receives another silver sphere, this one symbolizing Daring. More eerie than scary, Bodkin's rich tale builds to a dramatic climax. The young narrator is an engaging hero who not only comes up with the plan to end the haunting, but also confidently takes command of his father's ship to make sure it succeeds. Fuch's gorgeous oil paintings are just right for this spooky tale. Misty backgrounds, elegant figures, and careful use of light infuse the story with a properly mysterious mood. Both text and illustrations are restrained rather than melodramatic, and the result is a gripping and satisfying tale. Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

A sailor's son serves as a bridge between the supernatural and natural worlds in this suspenseful picture book. Master storyteller Bodkin (The Banshee Train) recreates a salt-air ambiance of centuries past as he writes of fearless Captain LeNoir. Sailors who watch him race his fast ship, the Southern Belle, against other ships in the Northern Atlantic consider LeNoir a madman for his daring. But the story's young narrator believes otherwise. In passing, LeNoir tosses the boy a Chinese silver ball said to embody pure luck. Shortly afterward, on All Hallows' Eve, the Southern Belle crashes, and the ghost ship and her crew begin to haunt the seas near the site. Feeling a connection with LeNoir, the boy devises a plan to put the Southern Belle finally to rest. Bodkin's swift, compelling prose immediately draws readers in. His inventive weaving of historic and geographical details into the text helps set the intriguing scene. Readers can nearly feel a bracing sea breeze blowing off of Fuchs's (Ragtime Tumpie) darkly eerie oil paintings. His dramatic, full-page close-ups of the sailors and tall-masted ships, and especially of the ghost of LeNoir, make a powerful impression. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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