The Antlered Ship

Dashka Slater, illus. by Eric Fan and Terry Fan. Beach Lane, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5160-4
Marco, a fox, thirsts to know everything: “Why don’t trees ever talk? How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?” A ship appears off the coast of Marco’s forest. It’s crewed by deer (they’re poor sailors, they admit), and its figurehead is a stag with a massive set of antlers. Together with a flock of pigeons, Marco embarks on a nautical adventure in hopes of locating foxes who can answer his questions. The sailors encounter storms, dangerous rocks, and pirates before finding the island refuge they seek. In spreads that evoke seafaring motifs from the Odyssey to Treasure Island, the Fan brothers (The Night Gardener) lavish care on every delicate detail, from the ship’s rigging to the foam on the waves. Breathtaking seascapes alternate with cozy scenes below decks as predators and prey huddle peaceably. Slater (Escargot) creates a story to lose oneself in, an adventure packed with risk and possibility. The ship becomes a community, and Marco and his questions part of its journey. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrators’ agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
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