word craft


Abigail Takes the Wheel

Abigail Takes the Wheel

illus. by Don Bolog­nese
Harper­Collins, 1993

out of print; look for this book at your favorite library or used bookstore

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What’s this book about?

Col­li­sion in the Har­bor! Abi­gail and her broth­er, Tom, trav­el to school every day aboard their father’s freight boat, the Nep­tune. One day, two ships col­lide in the Nar­rows, and Abi­gail’s father goes to their aid—leaving Abi­gail to take the Nep­tune’s wheel. Can she and Tom steer the freight boat through the crowd­ed and dan­ger­ous waters of New York Har­bor alone?

Story Behind the Story

I’ve long been fas­ci­nat­ed by the his­to­ry of writ­ing for young peo­ple. This includ­ed an inter­est in St. Nicholas Mag­a­zine. Found­ed in 1873 and edit­ed by Mary Mapes Dodge (She wrote Hans Brinker and the Sil­ver Skates) it last­ed until the 1940s. The mag­a­zine was enor­mous­ly suc­cess­ful as it brought fine children’s lit­er­a­ture into Amer­i­can homes as nev­er before. Its list of con­tribut­ing authors is quite astound­ing. There are too many to list here. Go to St. Nicholas Mag­a­zine for a lot more infor­ma­tion about this vital pub­li­ca­tion. St. Nicholas also fos­tered writ­ing and art by young peo­ple, and it’s cap­ti­vat­ing to see who was first pub­lished there.

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“Abi­gail is a spunky hero­ine cast in a stur­dy sto­ry; the sus­pense will hold read­ers just ready for chap­ter books.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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