A strange glowing stone picked up on a sea voyage captivates a ship's crew and has a terrible transforming effect on them. What is this extraordinary rock, what wretched power does it hold? And how on earth will the captain be able to save himself and his feverish crew? Excerpts from the log of the ship the Rita Anne.
In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal.
Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
A captain's log records the puzzling transformation of his ship's sailors after
a glowing rock from an uncharted island is brought aboard. They turn into apes,
insensate to the captain's orders and ``fascinated by the rock.'' A storm
nearly scuttles the ship but also breaks the stone's hold over the men, who
return to normal--except for an inordinate fondness for bananas. Once again,
Van Allsburg voyages into an unknown territory that is mystical and
eerie--though his somewhat overblown prose substitutes unsettling obfuscation
for dramatic storytelling. His sharp-edged, ultra-realistic paintings are a
marvel in their own right, from the otherworldly luminiscence of the ominous
island to the deep indigos used to create the stillness of the ship and sea by
night to oddly angled, even dizzying perspectives of the ship's hold and mast.
All ages. (Oct.)
"As always, Van Allsburg's paintings are magnificent. Cool, clear colors, boldly executed, and unusual perspective accentuate the story's mystery." Booklist, ALA
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