BLOWN AWAY! by Joan Hiatt Harlow
BLOWN AWAY! is on the list of BEST BOOKS PUBLISHED
by Bank Street College of Education.
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Here's a brief synopsis of BLOWN AWAY as told by Jake, the main character, who lived on the Florida Keys back in 1935 when the worst hurricane in history hit.
"Hi, I'm Jake. I'm fourteen, and I live on one of the Florida Keys. My neighbor, Sharkey, is a veteran of the Great War. He lived in a rusty van among a copse of mangroves on the west side of the island. Most folks left him alone and kids stayed away from him. He seemed to like it that way. But in just one day, after scaring me half-to-death, he became my best friend,
One day when Sharkey was in Key West he met a man who was selling a pretty brown and white spotted mule named Jewel. "Why are you selling her?" he asked.
"If I don't sell her today I'm goin' to put her down. I don't need a mule anymore, and it's costing too much to feed her."
Sharkey, who'd just sold a good catch of fish, looked Jewel over. Jewel stood quietly, looking off into space with her sad, droopy eyes while Sharkey petted her. She seemed friendly enough. And wouldn't a mule be a great help drawing in his boats when they needed to be scraped? The owner said Jewel was good pulling a cart. If Sharkey hitched Jewel to his wagon he could get around more easily instead of limping on his bad leg. Yes, Sharkey needed that mule.
He paid out most of the money he made on his catch of fish, then tried to lead his new mule down to his boat. But Jewel would have none of it. She stood as stiff as a statue and wouldn't budge. "Oh, she won't do a thing without Ruby," the owner told him, pointing to a rusty-colored dog. "You'll need to buy the dog, too. One's no good without the other." Sharkey glared at Ruby who looked up at him with a smile and a whop of her shaggy tail. Sharkey ended up buying the dog with the rest of his money.
"Trouble comes in pairs," Sharkey said later. However, it wasn't long before Jewel decided that Sharkey could be her friend and the three became inseparable - until after the storm.
After the storm I realized how precious Jewel and Ruby were. They sure altered Sharkey from a grumpy hermit to a good friend - and they changed my life and my sister's life forever.
The storm came in like a giant monster, but you'll read about that in the new book, BLOWN AWAY!