Rereading: THIEF ISLAND by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Here’s another old book from my collection that I’ve recently reread before listing it on eBay. Coatsworth was a prolific author of children’s books, but little remembered today even though she won the Newbery Award for “The Cat Who Went to Heaven” in 1931.

In a harbor town on the coast of Maine, the Little family: father Dave and his children Susan and John, are forced to leave their home because of a bad investment deal their father was talked into, which caused them to lose their house and land. Dave Little is a hard-working lobsterman, first out and last in, and his children work hard too, at home and in school. What will they do, and where will they go? The auction sale of all their belongings will give them some cash, but it won’t be enough to buy or rent a new home. The answer lies out in the ocean a few miles from town, Thief Island. The Little family has property there and a house that’s in poor shape, but one that can hopefully be restored to living conditions. The Littles pack their remaining belongings, buy food and supplies, and travel to the island on Dave Little’s lobster boat, where they find things in even worse shape than they expected. There was once a small community on the island, but it’s been abandoned for some years after superstitious stories about a ghost haunting the lonely place. The Littles are not afraid, and ready to tackle the hard work of making their old family home livable again. Dave returns to his lobster fishing as soon as he can, while Susan and John explore the island and work on the house and grounds. The children find evidence that someone has been there, and Susan hears a horrible shriek in the woods that scares her. Despite that, they are determined to make Thief Island their home. Then a fierce storm approaches while their father is away in town. What will happen when the flooding tides and fierce winds attack?

A fine story, hard to find, but worth reading.

Thief Island by Elizabeth Coatsworth

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