Abigail Takes the Wheel (I Can Read Chapter Books)

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9780060276621: Abigail Takes the Wheel (I Can Read Chapter Books)

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?

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About the Author:

Ask Avi how you know when you're a real writer and his answer is simple: "I think you become a writer when you stop writing for yourself or your teachers and start thinking about readers." Avi made up his mind to do that when he was just a senior in high school.

Avi was born in 1937 in New York City and was raised in Brooklyn. Kids often ask him about his name. "My twin sister gave it to me when we were both about a year old. And it stuck." To this day, Avi is the only name the author uses.

As a kid, Avi says, he was "shy, not into sports, but someone who loved to read and play games of imagination." He did not consider himself a good student, though. "In elementary school I did well in science, but I was a poor writer. When I got to high school I failed all my courses. Then my folks put me in a small school that emphasized reading and writing." What made him want to become a writer? "Since writing was important to my family, friends and school, it was important to me. I wanted to prove that I could write. But it took years before I had a book published."

Avi didn't start off as an author of children's books but as a playwright. It was only when he had children of his own that he started to write for young people.

When asked if writing is hard for him, Avi gives an unequivocal YES. "But," he goes on, "it's hard for everyone to write well. I have to rewrite over and over again, so on average it takes me a year to write a book." Where does he get his ideas? "Everybody has ideas. The vital question is: What do you do with them? My wife, a college teacher, uses her ideas to understand literature. My rock musician sons shape their ideas in to music. I take my ideas and turn them into stories."

Avi's advice for people who want to write: "I believe reading is the key to writing. the more you read, the better your writing can be." He adds, "Listen, and watch the world around you. Don't be satisfied with answers others give you. Don't assume that because everyone believes a thing, that it is right or wrong. Reason things out for yourself. Work to get answers on your own. Understand why you believe things. Finally, write what you honestly feel, then learn from the criticism that will always come your way."Avi's many award-winning books for young readers include the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as well as more Tales from Dimwood Forest, including Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Poppy and Rye, and Ragweed. His many other books include tales of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction for young readers of all ages.

From Kirkus Reviews:

PLB 0-06-027663-0 In the I Can Read Chapter Book series, Avi returns to some surefire ingredientsa girl and the boat she eventually pilotsthough for a far younger audience than that for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Every day, Abigail Bates, brother Tom, and their father, Captain Bates, leave Old Port, in New Jersey, in their paddle wheel freight boat and home, the Neptune. On board is a load of fresh vegetables intended for buyers in New York City, 20 miles up the Hudson. One morning, as they leave Old Port, two sailing ships collide; Captain Bates offers to tow one of them to New York, but under harbor law, he has to take her wheel. He leaves first mate Mr. Oliver to pilot the Neptune, but Mr. Oliver becomes ill and hands the wheel over to Abigail. Scared but game, Abigail navigates the two ships through the busy river traffic, barely escaping another collision and ingeniously maneuvering the stricken sailing ship to safe berth. Predictably, for her courage and skill, she is made an honorary captain. Abigail is a spunky heroine cast in a sturdy story; the suspense will hold readers just ready for chapter books. The surprise in the competent illustrations, which conjure the late 19th-century setting, is the insertion of some unexpected diversity in the casting of the first mate. (Fiction. 8-10) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Avi, Don Bolognese (Illustrator)
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