A Full Hand

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9780374425029: A Full Hand

A boy's initiation into old-time canal transport

Asa doesn't know what to expect when his mother tells him it's time he made his first full hand. After all, he's only nine years old. But his father needs some help. He carries coal on his boat along the canal all the way across New Jersey, and he needs Asa to drive the two mules who pull the boat. While leading the mules along their route, Asa learns about loading at the coal chutes and the mechanisms of locks, aqueducts, and inclined planes. Finally, when a violent storm threatens the mission, Asa finds out what it really means to make a full hand.

Set against a backdrop of luminous illustrations, fascinating information about old-time canal freighting is seamlessly woven into this warm and exciting father-and-son story.

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About the Author:

Thomas F. Yezerski is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including Together in Pinecone Patch and Queen of the World. He lives in Rutherford, New Jersey

From Booklist:

PreS-Gr. 2. Asa's father is a canal boat captain, a man who moves goods and cargo on a barge pulled by mules. In this gentle story, nine-year-old Asa gets to come along for the first time because his father's mule driver has quit. Their trip is a learning experience for Asa, who helps care for the mules and steers them along the path, visiting with familiar faces along the way. Adventure comes their way in the form of a nasty storm that causes the mules to bolt from a lightning strike; then the towline breaks, and Asa's father disappears into the canal. All ends well, however, and both Asa and the reader have learned a lot about this little byway of history. A foreword explains that canals were the highways of the nineteenth century, on which barges carried heavier loads faster than horse-drawn wagons over land. Information on what canal boats looked like and how locks functioned is smoothly worked into the story, which is skillfully illustrated with careful, ambitious pen-and-wash drawings that use interesting perspectives to tell this story. Denise Wilms
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Thomas F. Yezerski
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