The Wreck of the Zephyr

by Chris Van Allsburg

Hardcover, 1983



Local notes

E Van




HMH Books for Young Readers (1983), 32 pages


A boy's ambition to be the greatest sailor in the world brings him to ruin when he misuses his new ability to sail his boat in the air.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 11.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member lleighton05
Genre: This book contains a realistic character who has a dream of sailing and does everything in his power to satisfy that desire. This could easily happen to anyone. The setting is also very real and could occur in a world like this one. The contradictory, unrealistic thing about the
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story is the idea that the boy can fly the boat over land, even though it eventually lands in some trees.
Setting: The majority of the setting of this story takes place in the sea because it is about sailing. It is not specific enough as to where the seas or land are, but general enough that the sailing could probably take place on any sea. The setting also includes the beaches that the boy lands on. The setting is very important to the story because without the seas, the boats would have no place to sail.
Media: acrylic
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LibraryThing member kirkonly
The Wreck of the Zephyr is about a boy and his boat the Zephyr. This boy lives in a harbor and is considered the best sailor in the land. He goes out in best of weather and worst of weather. One day he goes out in some bad weather and gets hurt. When he wakes up his boat is on the beach and he has
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no idea where he is. What he finds on that island will ultimately make him the best sailor ever. Awesome book as always from Van Allsburg.

As a student I loved the story in general. I found myself bare looking at the pictures and imagining what was happening in my head. I also liked how it was written, vintage Van Allsburg. He keeps you hanging on a string the throughout the whole story and then leaves you out there at the end.

From a teaching point of view this is a book that would touch the minds of my students, especially if I am reading it to them. It is a great book to have my students read. Chris Van Allsburg is great at showing the reader not telling the reader what is happening in the story. Highly Recommended!!!
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LibraryThing member isaacfellows
This is one of my favorites of Van Allsburg's weird tales. It feels timeless and the pictures of the flying ship are enchanting. For older children this would make a good storytime choice.
LibraryThing member cvyork
very interesting book, with interesting illustrations, a boy is a terrific sailor who learns supernatural techniques of flying. The reader then finds out that the narrarator is the boy who crashed the Zephyr.
LibraryThing member mhinderlie
Summary: One day a man visits an island and finds a boat crashed high on a cliff. He sees a man there and asks him the story. The man proceeds to tell him the story about how a young boy thought he was the best sailor in the world. He was overconfident and got caught in a storm that sent him and
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his ship ashore to a new island.Where he met a village that taught him to fly his boat. He then believed that he was the best sailor in the world, to prove this he flew his boat over his village and because of the bad wind found above land he crashed his boat. After the story the visiting man realized that the one telling him the story was indeed the same boy.
Genre: Fantasy
This is an example of fantasy because while flying boats are not possible the author makes this an interesting and believable read.
Point of View: 3rd person
There is a man narrating this story, telling the visitor about the story of the boy who thought he was the best sailor in the world.
Media: water color, paint,
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LibraryThing member Meg_Harrison
What if ships floated and flew instead of sailing? Chris Van Allsburg is a master of taking the "What if?" questions of children and making them magically appear in picture. His gift is in limiting how many words he uses to create stories and this book is no exception. So...what would happen
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if....a boat was found higher than any body of water could wreck it?
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
Enjoyed the seaside/ocean story setting, as well as the illustrations!
LibraryThing member kimpiddington
Classic Chris Van Allsburg: beautiful pictures, fantastic story, twist ending.
LibraryThing member aalkurd
I love how Allsburg uses magic in every story. I saw the dog again!
LibraryThing member ktankers
This is a great to read to kids because it expresses the art of storytelling. The art is that the simplest truth can always seem like the greatest lie.
LibraryThing member athena.j
The genre of this book is modern fantasy. The story opens with the author finding an old, abandoned ship on an island, with an old man sitting nearby. The man begins to tell the strange story of a haughty boy who fancied himself the best sailor of all, and traveled to a distant land on his ship,
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the Zephyr, to a place where fisherman could make their ships fly. At the end of the day, the boy manages to fly his ship back to his hometown, but can't resist the urge to try to ring the church bells as a boast. As a result, the Zephyr begins to fall, the townspeople never believe him again, and the boy breaks his leg. After the story is told, the author notices that the old man walks away with a limp, hinting that he is, in fact, the boy from the story. This book would be appropriate for 3rd or 4th graders.
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LibraryThing member kcbartlett
Interesting ending!
LibraryThing member FamiliesUnitedLL
Like many Chris Van Allsburg books- I’m not sure what I read.

Intentionally dreamy and surreal this book takes you on a ship through the sky that crashes back to shore. Its more like an art book that is narrated than it is a narration that is illustrated.




½ (81 ratings; 3.9)
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