Today’s Pick: Sinking Deeper Or My Questionable (Possibly Heroic) Decision to Invent a Sea Monster by Steve VernonPublished by Nimbus Publishing, 2011
The tiny fishing community of Deeper Harbour is in deep trouble—and so is fourteen-year-old Roland MacTavish. Roland’s mom wants to move with him to Ottawa, away from his father, his weird friend Dulsie, and his even weirder grandfather, Angus. So Roland does what any sane teenager would do: He invents a sea monster. Unfortunately, the scheme quickly spins out of Roland’s control, and he has to go to greater and greater lengths to keep up the illusion. And then Roland must deal with a situation far more terrifying than any sea monster. As moving as it is irresistibly funny, Steve Vernon’s portrait of Roland and Deeper Harbour is perfect for anyone who’s ever been stuck badly enough to do something awesomely, brilliantly, heroically stupid.
This book started right into some action, with Roland’s grandfather and as friend breaking him out of jail. It took a little while to get to the main problem of the plot, but I kept reading because of the quirky characters. I was glad I did. Once the story got going, I enjoyed the humor and was rooting for the characters to succeed in their plan to build and deploy a fake sea monster. The author captured the feeling of community and small town Nova Scotia.
As a writer, it was so interesting to see how the author brought together characters of different ages as they worked together on a project. And I loved the way the humor seemed so effortlessly woven into the story.
“I was sure what Granddad Angus was saying made perfect sense in some alternative universe, but I still didn’t get it—and I didn’t really need to. He was my Granddad Angus and my very best friend and I would do just what he asked me to.”
“I had experienced more excitement watching paint dry in the sun, but I didn’t want to interrupt Warren’s concentration. If I did, he might start all over again and the two of us would be here until several days past infinity.”
Steve Vernon is a writer and storyteller who lives in Nova Scotia with his wife and a cat named Kismet.Sinking Deeper is his first middle grade novel. He also writes collections of ghost stories.
On his blog, Steve Vernon shares a letter to a fan that describes what inspired the story of Sinking Deeper: “I was also thinking of the Miller Lake monster here in Nova Scotia that was originally nothing more than a torn-up tree stump that somebody painted to look a sea monster – mostly because they were inspired. Then a group of Boy Scouts got together and started painting that lake monster even fancier.”
Sinking Deeper Or My Questionable (Possibly Herioc) Decision to Invent a Sea Monster is nominated for an Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading award in the Silver Birch category for 2013. Other nominated books that I’ve featured include: Dragon Seer's Gift by Janet McNaughton, Cat Found by Ingrid Lee, A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland, The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday, The Grave Robber's Apprentice by Allan Stratton, Missing by Becky Citra, and Neil Flambé and the Crusader's Curse by Kevin Sylvester.
For more info, visit Steve Vernon’s website.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger, author of the middle grade novel, Keeper of the Lost Cities. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!