Polka Dot And The SegwunPolka Dot And The Segwun is an adventure story set in the 1980’s when the old steamship was restored. This is the summer that Jason finally gets to take Polka Dot out on the lake by himself. Gramps stories about the steamship era in Muskoka fascinate the boy. Kate, his older sister, spends the summer sketching. When they meet the Hermit who worked on the ships, Jason is determined to get a closer look at the Segwun. When a storm blows up suddenly on the lake, Kate springs into action and rescues him. Reluctant to go back out on the lake, the Hermit helps the boy face his fear.

This story has a mystery of a haunted house, some history of early Muskoka and reveals the warm friendships between both siblings and generations. The experiences of cottage life, exploring nature and learning respect for the lake, are celebrated. The nostalgic element of this book makes them appeal to parents and grandparents.

Praise from our Readers

"Cottage spells adventure in new children's book set in Muskoka. "I came to the cottage all my life but it wasn't until I came here with my own children, when I was living in the U.S., that I realized what a unique experience it was and I wanted to write about cottage life." [Polka Dot and the Segwun] celebrates the joys of cottage life, exploring nature and learning respect for the lake and its history."
   -- The Bookshelf, Queen's University Alumni Magazine

"Last night I finished reading Polka Dot and the Segwun and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. It reminded me of my own cottage days. I read your book both for fun and as a matter of professional interest, as I made my own debut as a writer for young people a year ago. Polka Dot was sheer delight. Bravo!"
   -- Steven Duff, Parry Sound author.


Polka Dot

Polka dot is a comical looking, bathtub of a boat with a round wide bow that sticks too far up in the air. My sister sits on a cushion and stretches her neck to see over the bow. The outside of the little boat is painted a gloomy black but the inside and the seats are covered with a speckled black and white paint job. My older brother and sisters nickname her Polka Dot and the name stuck with her over the years. There’s not another boat like her on the lake… I hope this will be the summer that I’m finally allowed to take Polka Dot for a spin on the lake by myself.

The Segwun

“Wow. Look at the Segwun. What a beauty! The old ship has been all fixed up at last,” I shouted with such excitement that my Dad slowed the car down to a crawl and pulled over onto the shoulder of the road.

For years we had driven past the old steamship as she sat in dry dock. It was always such a sad sight to see her high and dry on land. Her white paint was peeling off the hull down to the bare wood in spots. Most of the windows showed cracks or broken panes and the wooden railing around the upper deck sagged in desperate need of repair. Now she floated proudly beside the wharf with a fresh coat of paint. A bright red maple leaf flag, rippling in the breeze, hung on a pole on the top deck. The Segwun waited to toke passengers for a cruise on Lake Muskoka once again.”

The Haunted House

Kate slowed down the motor and I knew she was determined to land. The old wharf rested on an angle, damaged by winter ice. Several grey weathered boards had floated up on the shore. Reaching out as we landed our boat, I grabbed one of three huge black stakes sticking up along the edge of the very long dock.

“ Oh, that’s amazing! Do you know what those tall iron stakes mean, Jay? Those are for the thick ropes of the steamships. The crew always toss the loop of rope around each stake when the ship lands and then the men pull the ship alongside the dock. I bet one of the big steamships landed here in the old days. I knew the Sutton family was rich but they must have been very important people to have the steamship land at their very own dock.”

There was no mistaking the excitement in my sister’s voice. I knew there would be no stopping her now until she explored every inch of this old place. Seeing that I hadn’t moved, Katey hopped out on the dock and grabbed the rope from my hand, wrapping it securely around one of the iron stakes…

“It sure looks like this old place is haunted!” I said.

“Oh, come on chicken, let’s take a look inside,” Kate said as she walked past the screen door that dangled from its’ top hinge.

The heavy wooden door was slightly ajar and Kate took this as an invitation for us to enter the house. Slowly she pushed the door open wider and then disappeared inside. My feet felt frozen to the porch floor.