In The Cruise of the Arctic Star, O'Dell takes a voyage up the length of the California coast in his cedar-hulled offshore cruiser named Arctic Star. With his wife Elizabeth along as skilled navigator and cook, a friend Del as cohort and deckhand, and an unpredictable hired hand named Rodney Lambert, the crew journeys up the coast and experiences first hand the delights and drama of life at sea along this beautiful shoreline. Along the way, the author relates the colorful narratives of California's past through the stories of men and women like Cabrillo, Viscaino, Junipero Serra, Kate Sessions, Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith and many more. Drawing from journals of other notable visitors like Richard Henry Dana, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Francis Drake, readers are given a window into life in California hundreds of years ago.
O'Dell offers readers dramatic incidents seldom featured in text books on California history - like the worst peacetime disaster in the history of the United States Navy that occurred in the treacherous Jaws of the Devil near Point Conception. Readers will delight in the story of Jedediah Strong Smith's wrestling with a grizzly and the wilderness friend who stitched his ear and face back together - with no anesthesia, of course! Pirates have to play a part in a land so rich in coastline - and they do, with buried treasure on a Southern California isle known as Dead Man's Island. The stories of the discoverers, explorers and settlers of California have never been drawn so delightfully as they are under O'Dell's pen. With his love of his native state, his knowledge of the landscape, sea life, and historical past of this region, O'Dells work continues to stand as an important contribution to the rich literature of the Golden State.
About the Author: Scott O'Dell (1898-1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Zia, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl,.