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The Boy Who Was Generous with Salt
by Corinne Demas

Illustrated by Michael Hays

Published by
Marshall Cavendish
March, 2002

Selected by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education “Best Children’s Books for the Year”

How to Get This Book



     Life has never been easy for Cape Cod fishermen, but for one young boy during the 1850's it's become down-right daring. Ned's always been clever. He's always been hardworking. Now called upon to go to sea as a ship's cook aboard the fishing schooner Adeline, he has to be brave as well. Not yet nine, Ned knows how to make biscuits and chowder and bean soup. More importantly, he knows its up to him, as eldest of four, to help his mother support the family. Sure, he'll miss everyone, but he's aware how lucky he really is. If the captain weren't a cousin of his late father, he might never be given such an opportunity. He'll just have to do his best, look on it as an adventure, and pray that he's home for his birthday!


A Song

     The Sea Shanty, Cape Cod Girls, has a part in The Boy Who Was Generous with Salt.
Listen to a version of this song online.


How to Get This book:

1. Ask for it at your local library.
If they don't have it, they may be able to get it for you from another library.

2. Order it on-line.


About the Illustrator

Michael HaysMichael Hays is an illustrator, art educator and children's performer. His many illustrated picture books include Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger, The History of Counting by Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton, and Jonathan and his Mommy by Irene Smalls.

Michael received his BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design in 1979. His instructors included children's book illustrators Chris Van Allsburg and David Macaulay.

Michael now lives and works in Chicago, where he teaches children's book illustration at Columbia College, and does presentations about his illustration process at schools and libraries.† With dramatic storytelling, song and a detailed visual presentation Michael reveals how his picture books evolve from thumbnail sketches through rough drawings, photographic reference, layouts and comps to finished paintings.

Michael painted illustrations for The Boy Who Was Generous with Salt in acrylics on gessoed linen canvas. His realistic illustrations of Nedís adventures incorporate images of nautical maps from the 1850s.


A well-told tale with distinctive characters....Readers will sympathize with the child and share his joy when he is able to celebrate his special day with his family. There is also humor, particularly when the crew plays a trick on him and everyone enjoys the joke. The illustrations, in soft pastel watercolors, are evocative of the sunlit journey. Hays uses full-page spreads and smaller-scaled illustrations effectively, and children will be fascinated by the drawings of the schooner in full sail. The tale is based on an actual narrative by Joshua Taylor, who signed on as a sailor at age nine. Because it is based on primary sources, it should meet some of the new curriculum demands and will be useful for American history units.

-- School Library Journal

This is a richly historical tale based on a narrative written by Captain Joshua N. Taylor who actually went to sea as a cook in 1850. . . Second grade boys will love this book as will many others.

-- Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Media

Set in the mid-1800's, this delightful tale centers around a young boy who must got to work as a fisherman and cook aboard a ship to help support his family for a summer . . . The Boy Who Was Generous With Salt gives readers a glimpse into what family responsibility meant a century and a half ago.

-- Daily Hampshire Gazette

The time is 1859, the setting old Cape Cod in summer resident Corinne Demas's latest book for children. Young Ned goes to sea as a cook on the Adeline, a fishing trawler bound for the Grand Banks. On his first voyage he learns about seasickness and homesickness and discovers the importance of creature comforts, including good food, for the men who ply the seas. Michael Hays's illustrations are bright and attractive.

-- Cape Cod Times

Both Demas and Hays took great care for historical accuracy, researching the schooners, clothing and life of the times to present a picture authentic down to the railing on the ship's stove, used to keep the pots from sliding off in rough weather.

-- Amherst Bulletin

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