The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg - First Edition Children's Books - Vintage Child Book, Sailing, 1980s

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First edition of The Wreck of the Zephyr by Chris Van Allsburg. A young boy out to prove he's the best sailor in the world sails into a storm and awakens in a magical place...or a dream...where sailboats fly.

Written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. 1983 first edition, first printing. Hought Mifflin Company, Boston.

"Once, while traveling along the seashore, I stopped at a small fishing village. After eating lunch, I decided to take a walk. I followed a path out of the village, uphill to some cliffs high above the sea. At the edge of these cliffs was a most unusual sight - the wreck of a small boat.

An old man was sitting among the broken timbers, smoking a pipe. He seemed to be reading my mind when he said, "Odd, isn't it?"

"Yes," I answered. "How did it get here?" ...

The old man spins a fantastic yarn about a boy, bold as brass, who believes he's the best sailor in the world, and setting out to prove it, against all advice, sails into a storm and takes a knock in the head. He awakens on a beach, laying next to his boat, apparently stranded on an unfamiliar island. He goes off in search of help and climbing onto a hill he looks down on a village, and watches as two boats sail by, in the air, and a third tows his boat and safely deposits it in the bay. A magical place where boats can sail over land and see and nearly touch the heavens? Or the dream of a young sailor hit in the hood by a boom?

In Chris Van Allsburg's telling, fiction may be stranger than fact, or perhaps not. He leaves room for doubt, aided by pictures that brood over the story like a storm blowing in off the Atlantic and transport sailboats through the air like it's the most natural thing.

Van Allsburg is an outstanding Caldecott award-winning artist and a favorite at The Charmed Bookshop, as author of The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Jumanji, The Polar Express, and many other great children's books.

Learn more about his work.

Condition*: Very Good/Very Good. The back cover board has two small specks else the book is in excellent condition. The dust jacket shows some edge wear, isolated creasing, and fading along the spine, and there are two small closed tears on the front.

* Based on guidelines of the Independent Online Booksellers' Association.
Visit for more first edition children's books.

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