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The Summer of Marco Polo

by Lynn Manuel
illustrated by Kasia Charko

2 ratings
5 of 5
comments: 0
reviews: 3
list price: $19.95
published: 2007
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
6 to 8
1 to 3
Reading age:
6 to 8
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

The Summer of the Marco Polo

Lucy Maud Montgomery was a child in 1883 when a famous clipper ship, the Marco Polo, ran aground near her home in Cavendish, PEI. The captain and crew were rescued by the local islanders and spent the summer among them. The captain lived with young Maud and her grandparents. Shy Maud befriended the captain and crew and recorded her memories about this very special summer in her journal. The meticulous, realistic images show us life on the island in the late nineteenth century. PEI’s red soil, rolling farmland, beaches and details of the famous clipper ship are clearly depicted. A short glossary is included.

Other titles by Lynn Manuel include Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat and Camels Always Do.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2007-2008.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Summer of the Marco Polo

The quiet town of Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, was shaken on July 25, 1883 when a great clipper ship ran aground off its shores. Eight-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery, who became one of Canada's best-loved writers, witnessed the brave rescue of the captain and crew of the Marco Polo and their interactions with the townspeople in the days which followed. At that time Lucy Maud was living with her dour and stern grandparents who guarded their privacy and refrained from socializing. However, the tenor of their household changed dramatically when the ship's Norwegian captain stayed with them. How Lucy Maud loved to listen to Captain Bull’s tales about the exciting voyages made by the Marco Polo, the fastest sailing vessel of her type ever built! She enjoyed the visits from his colourful crew members who were billeted with other families in town.

Years later Lucy Maud related the dramatic events in her journals. It was from these recollections, published in The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volumes I and II (edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston), that The Summer of Marco Polo came to be. Lynn Manuel has adapted the journal entries with insight to recreate the story from Lucy Maud’s point of view. We feel the budding author's wide range of emotions as she witnesses the drama and its aftermath.

Kasia Charko has beautifully re-created turn-of-the-century Prince Edward Island in great detail through her watercolour and coloured pencil artwork. Readers will note the contrast between calm, pastoral Cavendish and the raging, stormswept seascapes.

This book captures an event from a time long ago and the lasting impression it made on a lonely, imaginative girl who went on to become a renowned author.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2007. Vol.30 No.3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Summer of the Marco Polo

In 1883, the Marco Polo ran aground in Cavendish, PEI, near the home of young Lucy Maud Montgomery. Artwork rendered in watercolour and coloured pencil accompanies this book, which was inspired by Montgomery’s journals. Glossary and author’s note included.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

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  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
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In the summer of 1883 a famous clipper ship ran aground off the coast of Prince Edward Island near the home of a young girl named Lucy Maud Montgomery. Lucy Maud, who became one of Canada's most beloved writers, wrote about the grand adventure in her journals and reflected on it years later in her notebooks. The town of Cavendish was transformed by the presence of the crew, and the ship's captain stayed with Lucy Maud and her strait-laced grandparents. Lynn Manuel has taken Lucy Maud's memories and shaped them into a story that will transfix and enchant readers.

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With eyes as big as owl's, we stared out at a great, black ship stranded among the breakers.
   Grandpa Macneill was telling Mrs. Wyand all about it. "I was riding home," he said, "when I happened to look out to sea. I could hardly believe my eyes! A great sailing ship was heading straight for shore. When it hit a sandbar, the crew cut the rigging and the huge mast went over."

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Editorial Reviews

"I would highly recommend this book to both school and public libraries. It is most suited for more mature readers, but younger children could enjoy the story as a read aloud."

— Resource Links

"Manuel beautifully retold this story...well-researched...lovely and authentic illustrations. Highly recommended."

— CM Magazine

"Manuel nicely weaves in the history of the Marco Polo and some information about L.M. Montgomeryís childhood...the illustrations are colourful and lively."

— Quill & Quire

"Charko's pencil and watercolour illustrations beautifully capture the fury of the wind and sea as they demolish the ship, as well as the tranquility and sunshine of the village with its well-ordered gardens and lanes. A small fragment of Canadian history has been admirably preserved here."

— Canadian Literature

Charko's...illustrations are detailed and exquisite...a glimpse of [L.M. Montgomery] as well as a bit of Canadian history."

— Times Colonist
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About the Authors

Lynn Manuel

"Lynn Manuel was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. The daughter of a steel-worker, she graduated from McMaster University with a degree in history and went on to receive a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Teacher Education College. After moving to British Columbia in 1976, she began her writing career while raising her two children, Jennifer and David. When her children were older, she returned to school to complete a Masters degree in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. She now lives in White Rock, British Columbia, with her husband, Ken, where she enjoys giving readings in the schools and libraries, and spending time with her grandchildren–Ben, Emma, and Maddy. "
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Kasia Charko

Working in watercolor and colored pencil, Kasia Charko creates detailed, colorful paintings that bring period, place and character to life. Born and educated in England, Kasia lives in Alton, Ontario, with her family of animals.
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