Book synopsis: Williwaw is a story about Alaska’s fiercest storm and two kids…
“Bodett, the genial voice in those Motel 6 commercials, offers a page-turner set in the wilds of Alaska, and he clearly knows the taste of sea and storm, the face of the landscape, and the sound of the loons and the scent of salmon. In this sentimental but rousing tale, September Crane, 13, and her 12-year-old brother, Ivan, are often left to themselves while their father fishes for their living. . . . Bodett interweaves the story of the williwaw, a wild storm that took their mother’s life and family boat, with a spiraling series of bad choices. . . . Along the way, we learn about boat safety, respect for the sea, and self-sufficiency in a desolate but splendid place. . . . The weather’s majesty and power are convincing, and the sister and brother are appealing characters . . . [with] very recognizable adolescent longings.”
School Library Journal:
Grade 5-8-September and Ivan Crane, ages 13 and 12, are growing up in an isolated cove in coastal Alaska with their commercial-fisherman father. Their only neighbors are loons, ravens, the occasional bear, and nosy Mr. Berger, who keeps his telescope trained on the Cranes’ comings and goings. As autumn comes to the cove, the children’s father is at sea, crabbing to earn money to replace his fishing boat that was lost when his wife drowned years ago. Speaking to him over the radio, Ivan and September convince him to let them stay alone while he extends his fishing trip rather than face the dreaded alternative of staying with older relatives. Because they are fairly self-sufficient, their only real fear is that cranky Berger will report their father’s absence to the authorities. Despite all intentions to be responsible, Ivan succumbs to his addiction to video games and accidentally blows their vital radios; September, eager to maintain their cover and their independence, organizes several forbidden trips in their motor boat across the bay to town. As the two weave a growing web of fibs to their father, to a kindly mail-boat captain, and to Berger, readers will see that disaster must follow, but Bodett produces a humdinger of a williwaw that catches the children before they can put things right and creates a well-paced adventure story.
Sue Sherif, Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, AK
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 – 7
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (October 10, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375806873
- ISBN-13: 978-0375806872
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