The Coming of the Surfman

by Peter Collington

The Surfman's arrival in a bleak urban neighborhood brings with it a transformation.... read more

The Surfman's arrival in a bleak urban neighborhood brings with it a transformation. Rival gangs, the Hammers and the Nails, lay down their weapons to ride the waves in the surfing tank the Surfman builds for them. The young narrator, who has always been caught between the gangs, begins to sense purpose in helping the Surfman repair the machine when it fails. But when the wave machine breaks down for an entire day and the narrator is unable to fix it - he was always too busy thinking about surfing to pay close attention to what the Surfman was telling him - the truce breaks down with it, and the destruction that follows results in the Surfman's departure. Thought-provoking without being didactic, Peter Collington's highly original picture book for older readers features full-page, full-color paintings heavy with emotional impact. The grim urban environment is traced in hard edges and shaded in grays and blacks, while the respite from this oppression brought on by the Surfman's activities is realized in the use of neon-bright colors. (Ages 8-12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1994

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