Three at Sea

Timothy Bush, Author
Timothy Bush, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $14 (1p) ISBN 978-0-517-59299-1
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-517-59300-4
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When Alex, Joel and Zachariah Jr. go tubing on the river, they ``let the water carry them wherever it went.'' As it turns out, ``Where it went was out to sea.'' Here they encounter a trio of sea turtles who refuse to give the boys a ride to shore, since sea turtles have to be careful: ``After all, we're endangered, you know.'' ``At the moment... so are we,'' retorts Alex, in an example of Bush's (James in the House of Aunt Prudence) dexterous dialogue. Two passing dolphins are equally unhelpful (``We've made them endangered and now they're too rare to help us''). But after a crocodile (also endangered) loses a tussle with the boys, he leads them to shore. The tale comes to an abrupt end on the following spread, which shows the other two youngsters asleep as Zachariah Jr. sits at his desk ``writing letters to the president about taking better care of the animals.'' Though the book's adventuresome passages are great fun, the didactic delivery of Bush's message makes for a flat conclusion. There's nothing flat, however, about his waggish art: a striking blend of aquamarine hues creates a swirling ocean, while the sea species are meticulously rendered and the three likable heroes display an amusing array of facial expressions. Ages 3-7. Children's BOMC selection. (Aug.)
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