Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major, illustrated by David Blackwood

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Book Reviews, Newfoundland | 0 comments

annandseamus Summary: Based on a true story from 1828, seventeen year-old Ann Harvey lives with her parents and her numerous brothers on the Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland. Her father is a cod fisherman and their lives revolve around fishing season until one day there is a shipwreck on their shores. As everyone focuses on saving the ship’s passengers, a subtle romance develops between Ann and Seamus, one of the survivors.

Number of Pages: 108

Age Range: 13-15

Review: David Blackwood’s illustrations are haunting and beautiful with a soft quality about them, perfectly complimenting Kevin Major’s free verse poetry narrative.

This is my third Kevin Major book and I am officially hooked on his writing. In this book he takes the true story of Ann Harvey and her father saving over 160 passengers after the shipwreck of the Despatch from Ireland. Major expands the story to give a wider view into Ann’s life and captures the gritty, hard life of the fisherman’s family. I only picked one of Major’s poems to share, but as he proved in Thirty-Six Exposures, Major is an adept poet.

I really wasn’t sure if Ann was going to go with Seamus to Boston or not. One the one hand, I wanted her to be with Seamus because his dreamy, optimistic character, but on the other hand I couldn’t believe she was considering moving away from the only life she’d ever known to a foreign place without knowing how to read and write. Definitely reveals bias on my part from my pampered existence.

When I read Major’s historical note about how Ann and Seamus was based on a true story and Ann’s father received a medal that he gave to Ann for saving all of those people, I couldn’t help but think that having Kevin Major write a book about their story was the greater reward for their heroism.

Memorable Quotes:

“For the families who fished cod off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador” – from Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major, illustrated by David Blackwood, dedication

“Come away with me, lover

stay with us, daughter

share my life, precious

share with us all


follow your heart, dreamer

take your part, sister

Be true to yourself, Ann

But share with us all” – from Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major, illustrated by David Blackwood, page 103

Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major, illustrated by David Blackwood is published by Groundwood Books(2003).

(Buy this book: Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Booksellers)

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