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The Gulls of the Edmund Fitzgerald: 04/01/08
In 1975 when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, I was two. Although I didn't know about the tragedy as a news event then, I grew up knowing the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" sung by Gordon Lightfoot. It wasn't until NPR reported on the 30th anniversary of the sinking that my interest in the wreck spread beyond the song.
Tres Seymour's book The Gulls of the Edmund Fitzgerald caught my eye at our local library. I liked the bold illustrations and the subject matter. especially since I was a child when the ship sank.
The picture book tells the story of a boy who is warned away from the waters of Lake Superior by some gulls just before another gale storm forms. As he puts his foot into the water, the ghosts from the different sunk ships come on the breaking foam to lure him into the waters.
Reviews I've read have reacted negatively because the book is too scary or too bleak. Yes, it is, but children become better rounded people by learning about the tragedies of life. I think it's important for children to learn how to recognize when the weather is turning dangerous. Why not use a famous event to teach this lesson?