In a series of letters to her grandmother, a young girl of the 1830s describes her long sea voyage and her encounter with a boy from the future.
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Grade 2-5-- An oddly engaging story, comprised of letters written by Maudie-Anne to her grandmother. The child is on a sea voyage with her father, a biologist, when she observes a young boy climbing out of a small boat onto her ship. He feels no pain, has no reflection or shadow, and is carrying a letter dated 1872, 40 years in the future. The two spend many magical days together on board and exploring the islands when the ship docks to pick up plant and animal specimens. Only once does the boy speak, uttering the word "sinking." The next day he's gone. The last letter to the grandmother is from the girl's concerned father, who is afraid his neglect has resulted in his daughter creating an imaginary friend. A historical note about the ghost boy's ship graces the closing endpaper. The third-grade reading level belies the complexity of the plot. In classic mystery style, Brighton offers one clue per page, building to a surprise ending. There's much implied in the girl's simple questions to her grandmother, and astute readers will come to their own conclusions about the boy. Highly stylized illustrations, reminiscent of old tinted photographs, evoke the time and place through costumes and interior decor. The entire work, even the cover, which resembles an old diary tied with ribbons, is designed to capture readers' imagination and take them on a mysterious journey. They will enjoy the trip. --Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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