I Go By Sea, I Go By Land (Evergreen Library)

I Go By Sea, I Go By Land (Evergreen Library)

by P.L. Travers

Sabrina kept a very personal diary, recording the swift departure and the dangling feeling of separation and strangeness afterward, the long journey across the ocean, and their adjustment to a new life, where a warm welcome, exciting new adventures and new friends helped to alleviate homesickness and constant worry for their parents' safety.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.90
  • Pages: 160
  • Publish Date: August 1966 by Collins
  • Isbn10: 0001831127
  • Isbn13: 9780001831124

What People Think about "I Go By Sea, I Go By Land (Evergreen Library)"

I Go by Sea, I Go by Land was written in 1941 and is the story of the evacuation of two English children, Sabrina Lind, 11 and her brother James Lind, 8. The first part of the novel, I Go by Sea, begins when Sabrina is given a diary to record her adventures once it is decided that she and James are to be evacuated by ship to America now that the Germans are actually dropping bombs on England. After detailed accounts of getting passports, tickets, packing and goodbyes, the two children arrive in London for the train that will take them to the dock to board ship (not named but they are most likely leaving from Liverpool). At the London train, along comes a family friend named Pel, who writes book, with her baby son Romulus. After some sightseeing in Canada, Pel, Sabrina, James and Romulus fly to La Guardia Airport in New York, where Sabrina and James are met by their mother's old friend, Aunt Harriet and her husband, Uncle George and their children Georgina, 13, and Washington, 17. I Go by Sea, I Go by Land has lots of black and while pencil illustrations by Gertrude Hermes, an artist that Traversactually befriended on board ship in 1940 and remained friends for a while after arriving in America.

Many of my reviews begin with something along the lines of "chosen in desperation from my shelves when it was time to start a new chapter book with my son, and I didn't have something from the library lined up." This is another of those. I knew it would end abruptly in an unsettling way -- the time span the diary covers is only about three months, and if I'd thought about it ahead of time, I'd have realized the first time around that a book published so early in the war couldn't possibly come to the sort of conclusion and closure that the retrospective WWII fiction I'm used to usually does. So forearmed with knowledge, I was able to enjoy what the book does well -- presenting a very detailed child's eye view of a transatlantic voyage in a convoy with U-boats on everyone's mind, and the amusements to be found in the New York area (where the children stay with family friends) in 1940. Travers actually writes herself into this book, in the form of a family friend named "Pel" (P.L) who escorts the fictional children Sabrina and James on the ship, and settles with friends of her own at a close enough distance to take them on outings to New York City. Sabrina and James learn via a telegram that their home, which had stood for centuries, has been bombed, and that night, grieving far away in Connecticut, Sabrina sings James to sleep with "Now the day is over." It surprises me that I seem to have subconsciously absorbed the words well enough that they triggered a sort of memory in a different context fifteen years later, as I think I tend to skim verses and lyrics when they interrupt a story. Perhaps in this case, I was so taken aback at the book's sudden plunge into sadness that I took the time to read all the words.

This book is an account of this evacuation to the United States but told from the point of view of Sabrina, a dislocated eleven-year-old girl who keeps a diary of the adventure. Sabrina and her brother James who is nine, are accompanied on this journey by a family friend named Pel and her baby Romulus. The theme about forgetting what is real in life as we grow up is an everlasting theme in all the Mary Poppins books and in all of Pamela L. Pamelas sensibility and her ability to write convincingly as an eleven-year-old is impressive. There are two passages in the book that caught my attention and made me think that maybe there is a connection between the Sabrina character and Pamelas own inner child. The second passage is about Sabrinas anxieties while watching Pel sleep: I am frightened when I see grown-ups asleep. I feel that perhaps they will never wake up again and we shall be left quite alone and I kept going close to Pel to make sure she was still breathing. Another interesting character in this book is Pel who is a writer and travels with a baby in a bassinette named Romulus. It looks like Pel stands for P.L. and baby Romulus, for Pamelas adopted baby Camillus. And I had the same feeling about Pel as I had about Mrs. Brown-Potter in the story Friend Monkey. I believe it to be an expression of Pamelas higher self, the ideal she wanted to embody: She (Pel) makes you laugh and dance inside yourself and at the same time you feel that she is somebody who will always be there and that is a very safe feeling.

I find it quite touching, and while it may be a little heavy-handed that way at times, I somehow don't mind.

Pamela Lyndon Travers was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, popularly remembered for her series of children's novels about mystical nanny Mary Poppins. In 1925 while in Ireland, Travers met the poet George William Russell who, as editor of The Irish Statesman, accepted some of her poems for publication. The 1934 publication of Mary Poppins was Travers' first literary success.Five sequels followed, as well as a collection of other novels, poetry collections and works of non-fiction. Although Travers was an adviser to the production she disapproved of the dilution of the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins's character, felt ambivalent about the music and disliked the use of animation to such an extent that she ruled out any further adaptations of the later Mary Poppins novels.