The Heroine of Long Point by Leslie and Lois Benham. illustrated by Vernon Mould
Buckskin Books 4
Pages: 113 pgs.
Finished: Nov. 26, 2009
First Published: 1963
Genre: children, historical fiction
This is a true story about a boy, a sailing-ship, and a very brave woman.
Reason for Reading: read aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.
Acquired: We own this book.
Summary: A fictional retelling of the true story of Abigail Becker, who in 1854 discovered in a hurricane-like storm that a ship, the Conductor, had wrecked upon a sandbar near her cabin. The ship was a reasonable swim's distance from shore but the eight men were devastated and had tied themselves to the topmast to wait out the storm (or die). By gestures Abigail, who herself could not swim, convinces the men to make the swim and this brave woman goes out to meet each one, in turn, and single handedly rescues the crew.
Comments: This little known Canadian story takes place on Long Point peninsula in Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. I had never heard the tale before and really enjoyed learning this new piece of Canadiana. My son has a passion for any sailing themed stories and with the first half of the book all about the ship's journey, the storm and the shipwreck he was caught up in the action right away. A well-written, exciting gem of a book. Unfortunately out of print, but well worth looking for.
This book is part of the Buckskin Books series published by Macmillan of Canada, long out of print. These books would have been the sixties version of early chapter books. The print is large and spaced between lines. The reading level is not any easier than your average book suitable for 8-12s today though so don't let the appearance of the text fool you. I particularly enjoy my copy as it is signed by both authors (a husband and wife team) and has a bookseller's sticker on the back jacket flap, which apparently is from their own store "Benham Arts & Crafts".