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Off the coast of California, hit by a whale, grandpa's 55-foot fishing schooner sank, taking grandpa with it, leaving Rachel and Boo alone, fighting to stay alive in a free-floating life raft on an ocean filled with sharks. Their fortress against nature was an orange tent-like canopy atop three black inner tubes, with a rubberized floor thin enough to feel the water moving beneath them.
Two levels of the story are told from 14-year-old Rachel's point of view: the current struggle for survival, and memories of past events involving grandfather. The latter bring the reader a rich picture of his personality, the reason for and details about schooner Wyndego's creation, and family relationships. In addition to the personal insights, there are the dangerous mini adventures that all lend depth to the novel: the use of a gun in "fishing" for salmon, the fishing fleet's paranoia about "hot spots," enforcing the rules of the sea and of fishing boats, and the danger of fishing in freighter lanes.
The novel is off to a quick start with the shipwreck and Rachel's and Boo's reluctant acceptance of grandfather's death and the loss of the boat. Dealing with their own possible fate rapidly moves from contemplation to action to survive. Their food soon exhausted and their water turned putrid, they manage to catch flying fish and eat them raw, use fish entrails for bait, eat fish eyeballs for liquid. They wrestle a sea turtle onboard, but keep only her eggs and return her to the sea. They outride a thrashing lightening storm. They suffer cold, wet nights sitting in fish slime and sea salt, while listening for hissing leaks in the raft's floor as Eldorado attack. They patch the floor time and time again with 90% ingenuity and 10% materials. They sunburn and blister from the hot, blazing sun of the day. Rachel gets food poisoned. Brother Boo is the mainstay until rescue finally comes.
MaryAnn Easley is a resident of California. She is a member of PEN , SCBWI, National Writers Association, California Teachers Association and NEA. An educator and a gifted writer, she paints a total picture of fishing for salmon aboard a two-mast, gaff-rigged schooner and crafts a wonderful sea adventure in which brother and sister team together to problem solve getting food and water and keeping their survival raft afloat. The fishing lingo is accurate. The imagery is stunning
BELLY UP! is a kid's-against-the-elements page- turner!
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Book Description Royal Fireworks Pr, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0880925515