Manuel and the Lobsterman

Manuel and the Lobsterman

Catherine Urbain

The last place Manuel wants to spend the summer is a sleepy town in Maine.

A sleepy town on the coast of Maine is the last place where thirteen-year-old Manuel wants to spend his summer vacation. He’d give anything to be back in New Haven, with the greatest pizza in the world and a twelve-theater Cineplex around the corner from his house. So far the only thing that Manuel has found to do is watch Zeke, a cranky, old lobsterman, unload his boat, while a one-legged seagull perches nearby. But Manuel soon discovers that even sleepy New England towns can bring trouble. And trouble finds him in the form of a kid named Justin, who taunts him and steals his Ipod. Manuel’s mother plans to enroll him in summer camp, but her son has plans of his own. He’s determined to find Justin, get his property back, and get out of town. In the meantime, he takes a job working on the lobsterman’s boat to earn some money. But one thing wasn’t part of his plan: a run-in with the law. In a twist of fate, Manuel’s future hinges on that cranky, old lobsterman who has a secret—a big secret—that could yield a lot of money if he and Manuel can make it to an island called Jagged Jakes and a lagoon filled with “black gold.” Catherine Urbain’s fast-paced adventure on land and sea features two unforgettable characters and a plot that thickens at every turn.


  • Ages: 9 - 11
  • Grades: 4 - 6
  • Pages: 110

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Recent Reviews

There is little that 13-year-old Manuel Luis Menendez likes about his mother and new stepfather's decision to move from New Haven, Conn., to boring Rockport, Maine. The backward coastal town lacks the amenities—pizza, Pepsi and video arcades—that Manuel enjoyed back home. The locals see Manuel as an outsider and make offensive remarks about his Puerto Rican ethnicity. Eager to earn bus fare back to New Haven, Manuel secures a job helping the curmudgeonly Zeke on his lobster boat.The two form an unlikely friendship, andZeke shows Manuel a secret cove known for its rich deposit of mussels.The lobsterman claims a big chunk of change can be made by harvesting the "black gold." Manuel's quest for cash puts his life, and that of a local boy who befriends him, in grave danger.While Manuel's feelings of frustration and isolation are realistically portrayed, this first novel is flawed by awkward dialogue and stereotyped portrayals of the region and characters. Middle graders may nevertheless enjoy this lighthearted adventure, if they can get past the unfortunately unappealing cover

—Kirkus Reviews