Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"The Binnacle Boy" by Paul Fleischman

Graven Images: Three Stories by Paul Fleischman
Candlewick Press: 116 pages
Reading Level: Grade 5-8

The recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Notable Children's Book Award, and a "School Library Journal" Best Book of the Year Award, Graven Images:Three Stories by Paul Fleischman (originally published in 1982) are now back in print (Candlewick, 2006). Each tale involves a "graven image" which is probably why I was attracted to the title. Actually my co-worker and friend, Tim, told me that there was a deaf character in the first story, "The Binnacle Boy".
On the back of the book cover: "When a boat drifts into a New England port with all its crew dead, only a shipboard statue knows what took place. Can a boy carved from wood reveal the secret?"

Miss Frye waits for her son to return from sea and young Sarah to come clean her home when she greets Sarah's sister and main deaf character, Tekoa. Tekoa explains that Sarah has become ill and that she has come in her sister's place. The story takes a supernatural turn when the townspeople discover that the crewmen of the ship have been killed. Townspeople begin whispering their secrets to The Binnacle Boy statue (binnacle pictured right). To pass the time, Miss Frye's "friends", some busy-bodies in the town, take advantage of Tekoa's ability to read lips and spy on the townspeople and their secrets. While she sits looking out the window, will she discover the true murderer of the crew? Will the story have a shocking ending? You'll probably guess what happens but the story is worth reading!

For more information on the talented Paul Fleischmen (author of Seedfolks and Wirligig) visit
Thanks Tim!

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