Heroes of the Surf: A Rescue Story Based on True Events

by Elisa Carbone and Nancy Carpenter

In May of 1882, the steamship Pliny, en route from Brazil to New York, crashed on... read more

In May of 1882, the steamship Pliny, en route from Brazil to New York, crashed on the breakers off the coast of New Jersey. That chilling event, and the dramatic rescue that ensued, is the subject of this thrilling picture book account told from the perspective of a boy on board the ship. Anthony and his best friend Pedro quickly go from adventuring pirates in their imaginations to frightened passengers in real life. The storm continues to rage as the lifeboats are launched and splinter against the rocks. A loud BOOM is mistaken by the boys for real pirates, but it’s not marauders, it’s a rescue! A rescue line carrying a breeches buoy (a life preserver with a pair of pants sewn in) has been shot from shore, and one by one the passengers climb in and are hauled to safety. Elisa Carbone’s breathtaking narrative is paired with energizing illustrations by Nancy Carpenter that capture the sense of adventure, the terrifying chaos, and, eventually, the sweet relief as families are reunited. Carbone provides additional information about this shipwreck and the role of the Life-Saving Service in this and other rescues. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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