The Call of the Osprey, by Norman Jorgensen and Brian Harrison-Lever

When the Captain finds the derelict Osprey, he sees beyond the neglect to the fine workmanship beneath, and decides to restore her. At work in the boatshed he is visted by young Thomas Stevenson, who wants to help him in the restoration. When the Captain sees the boy’s dedication and willingness to work, he agrees to let him help.

The restoration is slow and meticulous. First months, then years pass as the pair work to restore the boat to its former glory. At the same time the pair develop a close friendship, and the Captain teaches the boy all he knows about the sea – how to navigate, how to guide a boat and how to live at sea.

Finally the boat is finished. The Captain and Thomas – who is now a young man – launch it, to the cheers of well-wishers. Out on the water the Captian has a surprise for his young friend – he has registered Thomas as the Master of the Osprey. The Captain tells him he has earned the honour, and entrusts the boat to him. His own time is drawing to a close.

The Call of the Osprey is a poignant and beautiful story about dedication, loyalty and firendship. Author Norman Jorgensen is a master storyteller – spinning a tale which touches and educates as it entertains. His pairing with illustrator Brian Harrison-Lever is ideal. Harrison-Lever’s depictions of the characters, the boat and the sea, echo the mood of the story perfectly. From the seascapes on the endpapers to the character studies of his close ups, the tone and detail of his art complements the story.

Jorgensen and Harrison-Lever’s previous picture book In Flanders Field won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year in 2003, the country’s highest honour for a picture book. This new offering is similarly exciting.

The Call of the Osprey, by Norman Jorgensen and Brian Harrison-Lever
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2004