Father May I Come

father may I come spier

In 1687, young Sietze Hemmes helps rescue a vessel foundering off the Dutch coast, and three hundred years later, another Sietze Hemmes takes part in a similar rescue, in parallel stories that explore the themes of heroism and selflessness.---from the publisher 20 pages 978-0385309356 Ages 6-9

Keywords:  17th century, father/son, ships, sailing, disaster, rescue, heroes, selfishness, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, multicultural, diverse books, diversity, courage


In 1687, a boy on an island off the Dutch coast spies a ship floundering in the banks. He runs to tell his father, who gathers together six men to help row the heavy wooden rescue craft. Following a four-hour - long mission, the crew members (and their dog) are safely brought to land, where kind townsfolk care for them.

The imaginative Spier then pushes the setting more than 300 years ahead, depicting a contemporary boy (with a name identical to the first) atop the same hill. He catches sight of flares set off by the crew of a sailing barge being pulled out to sea. With the help of beepers, his father alerts the volunteer crew of a state-of-the-art lifeboat, which reaches the distressed vessel in eight minutes.

The concise, parallel plots effectively convey the timelessness of the islanders' tradition of helping those in need. Blocks of Spier's trademark, precisely detailed pictures fill the book's pages, many of which contain extensive blocks of text (these may prove heavy going for beginning readers). A historical note and labeled diagrams of a modern rescue boat conclude this informative story. Ages 5-8.--from Publishers Weekly

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