Did you know that a "jolly-boat" is a dinghy-type boat to collect stragglers from the quayside and deliver them to the Man-of-War? How is a knot (ship’s speed) calculated? Or that a sailor’s day begins at noon? Close to the Wind is full of these nuggets of knowledge for the curious. It is a cornucopia of maritime information.
It also belongs to what seems to be a growing genre – I think one calls it “faction”. They can be difficult to place in the library too - picture book or non-fiction? We, here at National Library have this one in non-fiction (551.518 weather) and really there is no dilemma in this case I think.
Although all characters are fictional - except Captain Beaufort and engineer John Smeaton - there is loads of factual information about the Beaufort Scale, wind, sailing ships, the sea and various ports between Naples and Barbados.
It is a very impressive production with gorgeous pictures and clear layout. Each page describes a different level of Beaufort Scale indicated by wind effects on the surface of the sea, wind effects on land (such as smoke direction and flag movement) and the effect of the wind on the handling of a Man-of-War.
Close to the Wind covers lots of curriculum areas – social science, technology, art and science. It is a great read for children who are interested in the sea and sailing - and for the generally curious. An excellent book for children from year 5 and older.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons (part of the Penguin Group)
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