Heroes of Isle aux Morts


32 pages
ISBN 0-88776-501-7
DDC jC813'.54






Illustrations by Geoff Butler
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


Alice Walsh has crafted a simple yet stirring record of a historic
shipwreck off Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, in 1832. This memorable tale
will move readers of all ages.

A distress signal from a ship offshore is heard by young Anne Harvey,
who alerts her fisherman father and young brother. Together with their
Newfoundland dog “Hairy Man,” Anne and her father row their dory as
close as possible to the wreck so that the dog can swim to it. When
Hairy Man reaches the sinking vessel, the fearful passengers and crew
fasten a strong rope around the dog’s middle, then Hairy Man swims
back to the dory. Once ashore, the precious rope is fastened by Anne’s
father to a strong pole in the ground, and a breeches buoy is sent over
to rescue the 163 passengers, one by one.

Tales of the Harveys’ brave deed and of the incredible Newfoundland
dog eventually reach the King of England, who sends the family 100 gold
sovereigns and a gold medal inscribed with a record of their heroism.

Alice Walsh, who now lives and writes in Nova Scotia, grew up in a
small village much like Isle aux Morts. This is her third book for
children, and it’s a compelling story. Geoff Butler, who also lives in
Nova Scotia, also grew up in Newfoundland outports. His earlier
children’s books, The Hangashore (1998) and The Killick (1995), which
won the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award, reveal his love for
Newfoundland and its people. The illustrations for Heroes captures both
the drama of the storm and the courage of the characters. Highly


Walsh, Alice., “Heroes of Isle aux Morts,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21745.