The harbor boats are in need of a little TLC: “First Barge got bonked,” writes Savage (Sign Off), as readers see a cable coil drop off a mid-bridge truck and hit Barge’s deck with owie-making force. Then the other boats get sick, including little Dory, who looks miserable with a runny nose. Aircraft Carrier’s planes send out a skywritten SOS, and into the harbor steams the hospital ship HOPE (inspired, as a detailed afterword notes, by a real-life ship) and her tugboat team. “I’m here to help,” she says, distributing ship-appropriate first aid (croupy Aircraft Carrier gets cough medicine). Once again “shipshape,” the boats get back to work, “but they knew if they ever got sick again... Hope would always be there.” Savage’s digital artwork combines the clean lines and smooth colors of vector art with a boatload of expressiveness—it’s impossible to look at that single drip on Dory’s nose without being touched by fellow-feeling. HOPE mayface no obstacles in reaching her patients, which are immediately improved by her presence, but this story’s power is in the reassurance that a source of comfort and caring is never far away. Ages 3–6. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (May)
Correction: a previous version of this review misstated the book's publisher.
Reviewed on : 02/25/2021 Release date: 05/04/2021 Genre: Children's