This book was an absolute delight. The Secretary of State of Vermont has this book on its recommended reading list for grades 5 – 8, but I can tell you that as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is presented in an older format, to be consistent with the style of the period in which it is set – the 1870’s, with two columns of print on a page and lots (37) well-drawn, full-page black and white illustrations that greatly add to the charm of the story.
Ralph Nading Hill worked for three years on the Ticonderoga, the last of the side-wheel steamers that went between New York and Vermont on Lake Champlain. He was an accomplished non-fiction writer, Vermont historian and preservationist. Among other things, he convinced Electra Webb to buy the Ticonderoga for the Shelburne museum. I knew very little about this part of history and this novel really brought to life, for me, the period, the area and the part the side-wheel steamboat played in this region.
The Voyages of Brian Seaworthy was Hill’s fictional story of a 15-year-old boy whose father’s death makes him the owner of a steamboat company beset with financial problems. It’s a great adventure – and it includes a tug of war between a steamboat and a locomotive, a fraudulent uncle, a crooked captain, and a good friend.