I love being outdoors. As a child, I was outside all the time. Catching snakes (no, my mother refused to let them inside and screeched even if I placed them on the very corner of the back porch in a glass jar when I had to run inside for something), studying scat (yes, I kinda love wild-animal poo), and learning from the natural world. I would read just about anything I could get my hands on that had to do with being outside. You know the list: Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, The Call of the Wild, My Side of the Mountain, Sounder...I think you get the picture. But only rarely do I recall reading a book about sailing. Confession: I have never been on a sailboat. Canoe, kayak, and a bigger yacht that I cleaned to make extra spending money, but never sailed. And I didn't come across many books about sailing.
I love water though, and I love books about kids sailing even more. Paulsen is an artist at his craft, and I easily reach for his books when I run across them. This one is solidly terrific, and I loved the role of sailing throughout this text. In fact, the sea terrifies and soothes, the sea giveth and the sea taketh. This engaging story kept me right beside David, curious to know how he finds his way after a brutal surprise storm tosses him well off his path and well beyond his belief in himself and his knowledge. But time, practice, and curiosity all are on his side, and in time, he indeed gathers and funnels his resources into finding his way back home.
Sweet, simple, and confirming as so many of Paulsen's books are, this one is worth searching out.