.VETERAN’S DAY SPECIAL REVIEW
by Theresa Mitchell Barbo & Captain W. Russell Webster (Ret.)
Julia Marshall, illustrator
The History Press
Back Cover: Jack Nickerson and his faithful lab, Sinbad, wake early one snowy Cape Cod morning, ready for winter fun. Meanwhile, miles away in the ocean, the crew of the cargo tanker ship called the Pendleton is in serious trouble. The waves and wind of a raging nor’easter rip the tanker in two, leaving the people to cling for their lives in the wicked, cold storm.
There’s no time to waste—the Coast Guard, including Jack’s friend Bernie Webber, leave Chatham Harbor in the search of the Pendleton crew. They don’t yet know that Jack and Sinbad have snuck aboard the rescue boat as stowaways. Join the young duo in the front-row seat for the greatest small-boat rescue in American history. A true heroic adventure story in a stormy sea.
Opening: On February 18, 1952, ten-year-old Jack Nickerson of Chatham awoke to a flurry of white snow outside his bedroom window.
About the Story: The Daring Coast Guard Rescue of the Pendleton Crew is a true story. In the Atlantic Ocean, a boat had broken in two by huge waves. The crew was holding on to what they could to stay out of the cold, hoping and praying the Coast Guard could get to them in time. Bernie Webber and three other men were on their way.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jack was enjoying a rare day off from school. Jack wants to be in the Coast Guard, like his idol, Bernie Webber, and part of the 36500, an elite Coast Guard thirty-six-foot long lifeboat. While eating breakfast a bulletin came across the short-wave radio. Jack knew Bernie would be on the 36500 and rescue the Pendleton. This gave Jack an idea, an amazing, smart idea; a perfect plan. Jack would help Bernie and make his parents proud.
Later that morning, after a short visit with his cousin—where Jack’s mom thought Jack would be until ater dinner—Jack took his dog Sinbad, a few blankets, and began rowing out to the moored 36500. He had not anticipated how difficult rowing would be in the storm, nor how freezing cold the air would be in the ocean. They made it to the 36500, but Jack barely made it aboard, losing a shoe in the process. Both he and Sinbad were cold, tired, and afraid.
What I Thought: After reading this amazing story, keeping in mind that this actually happened, my first, and lingering thought was, and still is, what in the world was Jack thinking. Are ten-year-old boys this unaware of their own capabilities and that of Mother Nature, thinking they are invincible? My child, had he pulled such a stunt, would have been grounded until the day I died. Jack was lucky to survive and almost killed Sinbad. That was my first thought.
Then I realized how engrossing the story is to get me that worked up. Page after page turned, not willing to stop reading. Young Jack lived his entire life by and, on good days, on the Atlantic Ocean. He had no real idea of the danger that afternoon. Bernie was afraid he would not make it back alive, yet here was Jack thinking he would help rescue the Pendleton crew alongside his friend and idol.
When his parents realized Jack was missing, they looked everywhere, including the Coast Guard station. They never thought Jack would row their small boat out to the 36500. Never. Who would? The storm is raging around this fishing town and waves are pulling moored boats out to sea. The story is exciting and if made into a movie, would have you on the edge of your seat.
The illustrations add flavor to the story, especially those of Jack rowing out to the 36500 and then shivering in the survivor bay. The Daring Coast Guard Rescue of the Pendleton has well-written and well-paced action that keeps the story in your head days after reading. Historically, all of the Coast Guard action is correct. Jack’s story is fiction, used to bring children into the story. Sinbad, the black lab always by Jack’s side, was a real dog that hung around the Coast Guard. Bernie Webber knew Sinbad.
There is enough action to keep reluctant readers turning the pages of this 110-page story. Boys will love the action as Jack rows out to sea with Sinbad hiding under the seat for warmth. Many will see themselves as Jack, trying to be a hero before his time, though few would actually put themselves in this type of danger. Books are great for experiencing things we would never dream of actually doing. The Daring Coast Guard Rescue of the Pendleton is one of those books for boys most of us are constantly looking to find.
by Theresa Mitchell Barbo linkedin
& Captain W. Russell Webster (Ret.)
Released September 24, 2013
Age 8 to 12
© 2013 by The History Press, used with permission
Text copyright © 2013 by Theresa Mitchell Barbo & Captain W. Russell Webster
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Julia Marshall