Cover image for Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
Latham, Jean Lee.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

Physical Description:
251 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A fictionalized biography of the mathematician and astronomer who realized his childhood desire to become a ship's captain and authored The American Practical Navigator.
General Note:
First published in 1955.

Newbery Award 1956.
Reading Level:
570 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.1 8.0 16.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.1 14 Quiz: 01865 Guided reading level: Y.



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Winner of the 1956 Newbery Medal, this novel tells the story of 18th-century mathematical wizard Nathaniel Bowditch, whose determination to master sea navigation resulted in "The American Practical Navigator."

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The 1956 Newbery Medal winner, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham, is a fictionalized biography of the great American navigator Nathaniel Bowditch, whose 1802 book, The American Practical Navigator, became known as the "Sailor's Bible." This edition features new jacket art and the original b&w interior illustrations by John O'Hara Cosgrave II. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Jean Lee Latham's winner of the 1956 Newbery Award is the fictionalized biography of mathematician and astronomer Nathaniel Bowditch. This coming-of-age story takes place in the budding seaport of Salem in the late 18th century. At the age of 12, Nat, who was more interested in mathematics than the sea, was apprenticed to a ship's chandlery and had to forego his dream of attaining a Harvard education. After devoting himself to long hours of study, the boy learned all he could about mathematics and navigation, and after a handful of experiences as a navigator and then ship's Captain on a series of voyages, he wrote The American Practical Navigator, or "Sailors' Bible," in 1802 which is considered the definitive work on navigation and is still carried today on every commissioned vessel in the United States Navy. Jim Weiss brings this tale to life, adding just enough nuance in his voice to engage listeners who may not otherwise grasp the myriad details of life at sea or some of the more complex nautical terminology and metaphors used in the book. This inspiring and timeless tale will appeal to listeners who enjoy history and stories about the sea. For school and public libraries.-Amy Joslyn, Fairport Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 The Good-Luck Spellp. 1
2 The Privateersp. 9
3 Word from the Pilgrimp. 15
4 "Boys Don't Blubber"p. 25
5 A Voice in the Nightp. 35
6 "Sail by Ash Breeze!"p. 43
7 The Almanacp. 54
8 "Lock, Stock, and Bookkeeper"p. 61
9 Anchor to Windwardp. 69
10 Freedomp. 79
11 What Next?p. 89
12 Down to the Seap. 99
13 Discoveryp. 115
14 Nineteen Gunsp. 123
15 "Sail Ho-O-O-O-O!"p. 136
16 A Simple Matter of Mathematicsp. 150
17 Lunars and Moonlightp. 158
18 The Astrea to the Rescuep. 173
19 Strange Sailing Ordersp. 184
20 Book Sailingp. 195
21 "Sealing is Safer"p. 208
22 Science and Sumatrap. 217
23 Captain Bowditch Commandingp. 228
24 Man Against the Fogp. 241