What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

129 views
SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. 1970's MG Adventure - brother and sister on a sailboat. [s]

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

When: Read it in the mid 70's, probably written early 70's.
Characters: Brother & sister, father, and bad guy.
Plot: Their father has disappeared, leaving a brother and sister to sail his sailboat along the East coast (I think). They are being pursued by a bad guy whom they must avoid and outwit. Near the end, their father re-appears, looking weak and bedraggled, but he summons strength enough to punch out the bad guy and save his kids.


message 2: by Kris (new)

Kris | 36026 comments Mod
Don, is their father lost overboard during a storm? What about their mother? How old are the brother and sister?

Is the family on vacation, taking a day trip (they live on the coast), in a race, etc.?


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Kris, it's hard to remember additional details. Their father disappeared at some point early on, but not sure how. No recollection of their mother at all. It may be that their father lived on this sailboat, and had once been sort of fit and muscular, contrasted with his weak appearance at the end. I remember a description that, when he got ready to punch out the bad guy, he momentarily appeared like his old self, his muscles popping out as he scuffled.


message 4: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1222 comments Desperate Breakaway by Ray Pope
This is just a guess (couldn't find on goodreads): http://www.ebid.net/za/for-sale/97802...


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you Adlel! The publishing date is in the ballpark and what little I can find about the plot possibly fits. Just maybe... :)


message 6: by Adele (new)

Adele | 1222 comments That's great! Please post again and let us know either way if you find out for sure. :)


message 7: by BookWoman (new)

BookWoman | 125 comments Your description also sounds similar to The Lion's Paw - Robb White.


message 8: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 214 comments This is a longshot, but We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

It's difficult to tell just from the descriptions, but Desperate Breakaway sounds the closest to the plot I remember. I haven't yet ordered a used copy to know for sure... thanks for all the replies!


message 10: by bookel (new)

bookel | 2472 comments https://www.amazon.co.uk/Desperate-Br...
Desperate Breakaway cover.


message 11: by BookWoman (last edited Apr 16, 2017 09:46AM) (new)

BookWoman | 125 comments Don, if “Desperate Breakaway” isn’t your book, maybe give The Lion’s Paw another look; I believe it’s been reprinted several times. I think I read it in junior high…probably around 1969/70. In The Lion's Paw, the sailboat belongs to 15-year-old Ben's yacht-builder father, who is in the Navy, has been missing for a year, and has now been declared dead. Ben has been living with his aunt and uncle, who now plan to sell the sailboat. In the meantime, Penny and Nick, siblings who have escaped the local orphanage, have stowed away on board.

To keep his last link with his father, and before the new owner can claim the boat, the children sail away on it. Ben and his father used to collect sea shells, and his father asked Ben to keep looking for the rare Lion's Paw shell while he was away. Ben does not believe his father is dead, and thinks if he can find the shell, his father will return, so they sail from the east coast of Florida, through the St. Lucie Canal, across Lake Okeechobee, across to the Gulf of Mexico, then down to Sanibel Island. Ben’s uncle had posted a reward for the return of his nephew and sailboat, and the ‘bad guy’ after them is someone who heard about the reward and spots them shell-hunting on Sanibel Island.

Regarding Ben’s father and the bad guy, from the book:

“The man was close to him, and because Ben was looking hard at his father, he saw the thing start; he saw his father change.

Ben felt strange as he watched it. Before it started Ben would have been able to recognize his father only by the look of his eyes and the way the corners of his mouth curved upward. The rest of him, the tall, thin, weary man, was nothing like his father who had been big, strong, fast. But when the lank fingers began to curve inward and the elbow moved back the whole man began to change. And when the arm flashed like lightning, the big fist getting blurred in the air, Ben’s father was for an instant whole again, his lost weight back on his big bones, the weariness gone, the defeat washed away.”

Other details:

Penny and Nick lived in an orphanage, but since they could only see the back of the wrought-iron signage over the gates, they called the orphanage the “eganahpro”, and called themselves “eganaps.”

The sailboat was originally white and named “Hard A Lee.” The children hid the boat up a creek, repainted it black, and renamed it “Lion’s Paw.”

There are storms…alligators…tying the sailboat to the dinghy and rowing it up and down shallow creeks to hide it…terrible blisters…Penny had to cut off her hair to look like a boy…

Does any of it ring a bell?

Anyway, I hope you find your book. I hope even more that it’s The Lion’s Paw. It’s one of my favorites from childhood, and I still re-read it every once in a while. It’s a great book.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

BookWoman, thanks for the details! The passage about the father seeming to change back into his old self again right before throwing a punch seems dead on with what I remember (from maybe 40 years ago!). I'll definitely try to locate a decent copy of Lion's Paw, thanks again!


message 13: by BookWoman (new)

BookWoman | 125 comments You've very welcome, Don. The part about the father "changing" was very distinctive. I hope you find your book!


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Just a final note - I bought a reprint of "The Lion's Paw" and it is definitely the book, enjoying it again after all these years. Thanks again BookWoman and Kris, Adele, and Nicole for your suggestions!


message 15: by BookWoman (new)

BookWoman | 125 comments Yay! I'm glad you found your book and you still find it enjoyable. It's such fun to re-discover and re-read old childhood favorites.

I'm happy for you.


back to top