Summary of Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

Instructor: Ivy Roberts

Ivy Roberts is an adjunct instructor in English, film/media studies and interdisciplinary studies.

In Colin Thiele's novella, Storm Boy, the characters Hide-Away, Storm Boy and Fingerbone Bill live on the beach in South Australia. Let's hear their story, meet their unusual pets, and learn their morals.

Storm Boy and Hide-Away

Colin Thiele is the author of Storm Boy (1964), a short children's novella about a South Australian boy and the Pelican that he rescues.

The boy, Mike, is named Storm Boy. He's 11 years old and lives on the beach of Coorong, the name of an isolated sea and wetland region near Adelaide, in the state of South Australia. His mother died years ago, so now he lives with his father, Tom. But the villagers call him Hide-Away because he's a reclusive hermit.

The boy got his nickname when, many years ago, he was wandering out on the dunes during a dangerous storm. Some campers caught sight of him, guessing that he must be lost. When they asked the Postmaster for help, he replied, ''That's Hide-Away's little chap. He's our boy in the storm.'' From that day on, everyone just called him Storm Boy.

Just down the beach lives an Aboriginal named Fingerbone Bill. He lives in a humpy, a makeshift shelter, and he carries a blunderbuss, a short-barreled shotgun. Hide-Away Tom and Fingerbone Bill are kindred spirits. Fingerbone is their closest neighbor for miles, so naturally they spend a lot of time together: combing the beach, wandering the dunes, and looking out for the protected animals who live there.

Map of Australia, with Coorong marked in red.

The Three Mr. P's

Storm Boy and Hide-Away are walking down the beach one day when they discover that some hunters have ransacked a Pelican's nest. The parents were dead, but three chicks remained. They take the baby Pelicans back to their house and nurse the runt back to health. With Hide-Away's help, Storm Boy names their new adopted babies: Mr. Proud and Mr. Ponder. The little one is Mr. Percival. ''The three Mr. P's,'' says Hide-Away.

The pelicans grow and Storm Boy becomes attached to Mr. Percival. At last the day comes when Hide-Away decides that the pelicans need to return to the sanctuary. Percival refuses to go. He follows them home like a lost puppy.

The bond between Storm Boy and Mr. Percival grows stronger. They teach the pelican how to fetch.

Three pelicans: Proud, Ponder, and Percival

Ship in a Storm

One terrible summer storm forces a tugboat onto the rocks and strands the sailors out on the sea. Storm Boy, Hide-Away and Fingerbone race to their aid, but the ship is lodged 2-300 yards out, the length of several football fields.

Fingerbone can throw a spear, but not that far. They'd need a harpoon gun. The idea comes to Storm Boy that Mr. Percival can fly! He can carry a rope to the stranded sailors. Thanks to the smartest pelican in Australia, 6 sailors are still alive. The captain thanks the men and praises Mr. Percival. He even offers to pay for Storm Boy's schooling.

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