The Wreck Of The Ethie


Winters in Newfoundland are always cold and storms aren't uncommon, but this year the dead of winter is coming early! It is December 10, 1919, and the SS Ethie is taking holiday passengers to St. John's Harbor. The weather instruments suggest a storm is coming, but the Captain believes they can outrun it. He's wrong. The Captain and crew do their best, but Mother Nature is much stronger, and the lifeboats are turned into toothpicks. Fishing families watching from shore are desperate to help, but the seas are too rough. A young girl sends her dog Skipper out to catch a rope in the hopes they can bring everyone safely to shore.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Lots of action and suspense fill this story based on a true event. It is a perfect book for encouraging research. Large type, short chapters, illustrations, and the writing style make this an exceptional choice for dormant or struggling readers.

Content Awareness Factors:


Parent Reaction

This is a fascinating story, and the author does a wonderful job conveying the suspense and the anxiety of all of the players, from the captain and his crew, to Colleen Reilly and her parents. By opening the story with the daily routine of the Reilly family, she sets a great stage for understanding life in this far eastern province. The illustrations are an excellent complement to the story, and the collection of factual details at the back offer "the rest of the story."

Type of Book:
This is an historical fiction novel about the SS Ethie, which crashed in St. John's Harbor, Newfoundland in 1919.
Educational Themes:

There are lots of things you can do with this book. The author talks about historical research and looking at newspapers. You can use them as the start of your own research or for talking about primary sources. The characters themselves are secondary to the story, so they don't offer much by the way of character study. That said, there is enough there to talk about community life (rural living, economics, etc.)

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
8 to 10
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. This is an outstanding story and perfect for engaging readers, particularly when read aloud.

Title The Wreck of the Ethie
Author Hilary Hyland
Publisher Peachtree Publishers © 1999
Illustrators Paul Bachem
ISBN 9781561451982
Material Hard Cover
Cost $7.95
Genres Historical Fiction
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Other Reviews:

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