The Willoughby Spit Wonder
By Jonathon Scott Fuqua
(Candlewick, Hardcover, 9780763617769, 160pp.)
Publication Date: March 8, 2004
List Price: $15.99*
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In a poignant story of a family struggling against loss — and a boy who would be a superhero — Jonathon Scott Fuqua evokes, in rich detail, the long-ago era of the 1950s.
He looked at her. "Minnie, have you ever wondered if maybe Mom’s from Atlantis? We’ve only seen her parents twice, ever, and her dad looked funny and had to breathe out of that mask. See what I mean? Have you ever thought of that?"
It’s 1953 and the Korean War is over, but Carter Johnston loves to watch the navy bombers come and go, their great gray bodies skimming the waters of Chesapeake Bay as they guard against the Communist threat. With his family facing a threat of a different kind, Carter dreams of being a superhero. Could he be like the Sub-Mariner, and become the Boy Who Swam Across Hampton Roads, the Willoughby Spit Wonder? Carter’s sister, Minnie, says he’ll get himself killed, but Carter needs to show their ailing father that success comes to those who try. If his dad wants to stay alive as badly as Carter wants to be like the Sub-Mariner, it can happen. Can’t it?
Jonathon Scott Fuqua is the author of two previous acclaimed novels: DARBY and THE REAPPEARANCE OF SAM WEBBER. Of THE WILLOUGHBY SPIT WONDER, he says, "Two years ago, I watched a very good friend die. After his funeral, I came to see that his life had been a masterpiece because all his friends grinned and laughed at his memory. With this in mind, I began writing THE WILLOUGHBY SPIT WONDER and promptly realized that the main character, Carter, shared my wish that death could be defied by force of will."