"I am so pleased to have written my first children's book and to have my dear friend Wendell Minor illustrate it. I thought it would be a daunting project, but with six grandchildren and eleven stepgrandchildren, I've been telling stories to children for a long time."
-- Mary Higgins Clark
Thomas loved his summer visits to his grandmother's on Cape Cod. He spent hours wondering about the sailing ships of the past and imagining their stories. He dreamed of being on a sailing ship himself. One afternoon after a night of terrible thunderstorms, Thomas finds, deep in the sand, a weathered, old-fashioned belt buckle. When he picks it up, a boy his own age, Silas Rich, who was a cabin boy on a ship called the Monomoy that sailed almost 250 years ago, appears. Suddenly the world of sailing ships is very near as Silas tells his tale.
Beloved and bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark tells a story of mystery and adventure that will transport readers to a time and place beyond their imaginings in her first book for children. Wendell Minor's inspired paintings make a time long ago very real.
Bestselling adult author Clark's debut children's book meshes two eras, each depicted by Minor (Lucky) in finely detailed, light-infused paintings. Modern-day nine-year-old Thomas has grown up hearing his grandmother speak of Captain Hallett, who built her seaside Cape Cod home more than 300 years ago. One day, while beachcombing after a storm on the Cape, Thomas finds a belt buckle featuring the image of a ship, which in turn conjures a ghostlike boy dressed in 17th-century clothing. The ghostly boy introduces himself as Silas, a cabin boy on Hallett's ship, then explains that the lighthouse outside Thomas's grandmother's home did not exist in the days when Hallett sailed and that he and his peers had to do some quick thinking to save the Captain from shipwreckers one night. Clark takes some of the wind out of Silas's sails when the boy pauses during the dramatic tale to explain some terms ("Sober light? I don't know what that means," says Thomas; "Perhaps you would say twilight... or... dusk.... What I mean is the time just before the sun is totally vanished in the sky," Silas replies). When Silas successfully thwarts the efforts of the "mooncussers" (aka shipwreckers), he earns the very belt buckle Thomas retrieved from the sand. Later, Thomas returns to his grandmother's house, where the tale comes neatly full circle: he gazes on a portrait of Hallett, who sports the buckle as the man's ship floats in the background. Ages 6-10.