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The Serpent Came to Gloucester
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The Serpent Came to Gloucester

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  127 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Drawing on a true story, an award-winning author and illustrator present a picture-book tribute to the beauty and mystery of the ocean, and to the mesmerizing creatures that may frolic there.

It came from the sea, from the lonely sea,
It came from the glittering sea.

In a small Massachusetts fishing village in August of 1817, dozens of citizens claimed to have seen an enormou
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Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Candlewick Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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J-Lynn
In an informative Author’s Note, Anderson explains that this book is based on many historical, eye witness accounts to sea serpents (portrayed in the book as large black swimming snakes which creeps me out a bit) off the coast of Massachusetts in 1817. It is a simple story that is taken directly from history, regardless of its fantastical content. Ibatoulline’s pictures use “the style of nineteenth-century American maritime paintings.” Both the pictures and the stories provide an opportunity for ...more
Muhuawu wu
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is based on a true story. In August 1817 serpent was seen repeatedly around the shores of Cape Ann, in Massachusetts. Children are always been curious about this topic and I'm so glad that I've found a book on this subject for children to read about and enjoy! Children are love it. Not wanting to leave any spoilers, I'll only quote M.T. Anderson when he said, "For generations, fishermen took for granted the existence of long, snakelike animals in the North Atlantic. It takes a peculiar ...more
Alice
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-25-stars
3.25 A very interesting tale of a mysterious creature in the sea by Cape Ann, Gloucester Massachusetts. I have been to these these shores. Could the serpent in 1817 been seals in a row, large horse mackerel or another large creature now exists. Who knows. but with all the eye witness accounts it has to be something.

I have been to Loch Ness in Scotland and you pay a good amount of money to go on a boat and hunt for the Monster. It is a fun tourist trap to say you have done it!!

Did we find the m
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(NS)JenniferA
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this tale, which is said to be based on a true story, of a serpent in the sea. The author writes in a beautifully poetic and rhythmic way. I read it aloud just to hear how it would sound. The illustrations are captivating!
Liza
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
By far one of my favorite children's books. I love the illustrations and the sea-shanty cadence to the story itself. It works well for teaching students about the serpent as well as tall tales versus true stories.
Miriam
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
This gentle history of the friendship between a sea serpent and the residents of a small town is beautifully illustrated.
Cheryl
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Imo, the text is too sing-songy light for the story. The pictures are a closer fit, but err to being too weighty, as they look like old paintings that belong in a museum. The book is oversize; the font is undersize. The attacks on the serpent aren't explained. The identities of "we" who admired the serpent aren't explained. I can def. see why some folks love this, but I don't.
Logan
I got this as a companion book to Dick King-Smith's book "The Water Horse," which we loved and which caused Logan to ask many questions about Nessie and other sea monsters. What a beautiful book! The luminous and haunting paintings show interesting details of 19th-century life in a fishing village and the way the serpent is portrayed is realistic (L dislikes cartoonish illustrations). My favorite is of the serpent cavorting in the moonlight. The story is written in the style of a sea chantey and ...more
Jared White
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
For fans of cryptozoology. I thought this was interesting now but I know I would have loved it when I was little (I was a huge fan of bigfoot and the loch ness monster).

The story is based on a true story of two summers long ago in a little fishermen's village. Dozens of citizens reported seeing a sea serpent to the point where, the following summer, many hunters and fishermen came to try and catch the beast.

Apparently, there had been sightings of serpents off the coast of New England from the
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Linda Lipko
Based on a true happening, in 1817, the townsfolk watched in fear, and in awe as for a few weeks a snake like serpent appeared off the coast of Gloucester.

I'm not fond of snakes, and even images of them give me the creeps, yet, the artistry of Bagram Ibatoulline is worth the read.

Written with a poetic lilt, both the words and images are powerful. After the dancing in the waters for a relatively short period of time, the serpent was never seen again. Though the serpent never harmed anyone, with
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Jessica
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've always been curious about this topic and I'm so glad that I've found a book on this subject for children to read about and enjoy! Not wanting to leave any spoilers, I'll only quote M.T. Anderson when he said, "For generations, fishermen took for granted the existence of long, snakelike animals in the North Atlantic. It takes a peculiar kind of snobbery to believe that men who worked on the sea all their lives-though illiterate-were by nature superstitious, confused, and gullible." The illus ...more
Sue
A beautifully illustrated children's picture book, with a narrative in verse about a sea serpent which appears in the ocean off of a Massachusetts fishing village. Based on written accounts of repeated sea serpent sightings around the shores of Cape Ann, near Gloucester, Massachusetts in the summers of 1817 and 1818. The Author's Note provides more in-depth prose background information to complement the poem and the pictures. The detailed panoramic drawings of the village "in the style of ninete ...more
Skye Kilaen
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is such a cool book! Written in verse, it retells reports from a Massachusetts village in 1817 that a sea serpent had appeared in the waves off their coast. The paintings are spot-on for the time period, and the text just rolls out beautifully when you read it aloud. There is a possibly upsetting sequence where men come from outside the village to hunt and kill the serpent, but the serpent is too clever for that, and all ends well. Nice change of pace for monster-interested kids compared to ...more
Zoe
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, art
The always superb Candlewick Press turns out one beautiful book after another, and this is no exception. The poem about a fishing village being visited by a sea serpent is beautifully written (and based on a true story) but the artwork, which recalls everything from J.M.W. Turner to some of the more sepia toned Seurat works will leave you astounded that someone put this much love and attention into a children's book. Add in the beautiful sketches on the flyleaves and you have a keeper that will ...more
Susan
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This book is pure magic. I got it because it was illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. In fact his illustration of the serpent frolicking in the sea in the moonlight is by itself worth the price of the book. But all of the illustrations and the gentle, rhyming text, and the historical traditional feeling of both is wonderful. I've seldom seen a more cinematic illustration than the title page in this book. I think it will spark many young imaginations. It's a true treasure.
Robin Raines-Bond
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Based on actual sightings around the shores of Cape Ann, in Massachusetts in 1817. Was there really a serpent or some other creature in the waters? Many claimed to have seen it and many more wanted to see this unique creature. A Nessy along the shores of the states? I found the text lovely and the idea a fun one to think about.
Dolly
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
I grew up in Massachusetts and I have never heard of this tale before. It's a fascinating tale, with a narrative that is filled with repeating phrases that make it feel like a part of a sea shanty and gorgeously detailed illustrations that look like they are from the 1800s. We really enjoyed reading this story aloud together.
Donna
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lovely book about strange sightings in Mass. in the early 1800s. Nessie's cousin? Lyrical writing with gorgeous illustrations. Sad to see that the primary reaction to something strange is to want to kill it. Not much has changed in 200 years! It those that take the time to observe and try to understand that try to protect.
Lisa
Sep 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: seaside dwellers, mystery lovers, art lovers
With lovely illustrations and, as I would expect from Anderson, a scholarly reference list, this is a bittersweet tale of a changing environment, child-like wonder, and the difference between children and most adults when faced with the unknown. The verse only falters at a few points, but is anting and tells many stories at once.
Benjamin Kinzer
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great tale based on true stories of a coast that once had sea serpents. I love the story-telling and the poetry that supports each page. You could read it all together or only the poetry. Great introduction to adult literature and poetry.

The illustrations are gorgeous.
Ms. B
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, 2012
Readers who are interested in or enjoy stories about monsters and/or unsolved mysteries will enjoy this one. A great book for younger readers needing a book that will also expand their vocabulary.

Sally
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Grabbed this off the shelf next to Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. Nice illustrations. Had no idea that there was a mysterious serpent off the New England coast back before and during colonial times. Text was rhyming and well-done.
Kathy Ellen Davis
Ok so maybe it doesn't always rhyme but it's written in verse and it's beautiful...
This book reads like an old folk tale and is inspired by true events!
I love that the narrator is a little boy!
The illustrations are amazing too.
I love the color and the depth.

A very cool story!
Kiddo
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing. The text is a musical poem. Also a little weird. Must admit, I liked this more than kiddo.
Hannah Givens
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wish the paintings had more of the serpent and less of boats-and-men, but the poem is excellent, and the author's note informative with good further reading suggestions.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A poem based on a true account of repeated sightings by many people of a sea serpent off the coast of Massachusetts in the early 1800s.
Brenda Thompson
Book based on a true story of a sea serpent repeatedly seen around the shores of Cape Ann in Massachusetts.
Edward Sullivan
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2010
GlennFrederick
rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2016
Mary Napoli
rated it liked it
Dec 29, 2015
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Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His picture books include Handel Who Knew What He Liked; Strange Mr. Satie; The Serpent Came to Gloucester; and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. He has written such young adult books as Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, The
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