cover image My Blue Boat

My Blue Boat

Chris L. Demarest. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200177-3

Bath time turns maritime in this seafaring saga spawned by a girl's active imagination. On the opening spread, she launches the eponymous craft in the tub; it ``catches the wind'' and sails into open waters for an event-filled voyage. Brief, straightforward sentences convey a wealth of action (``I dance with whales, play tag with dolphins, and steer through storms''), adroitly illustrated by Demarest's (My Little Red Car) sprawling, loosely rendered watercolors. Varied perspectives heighten the drama, while subtle variations in blues, greens and purples suggest the ocean's expanse, a star-filled sky, roiling seas and more. The reassuring conclusion finds the child asleep under the covers, her lighthouse-shaped bedside lamp mirroring the genuine article visible through her window (literal-minded youngsters, though, may wonder why she didn't return to her bath). Cozy enough for landlubbers, with sufficient adventure for incipient sailors. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)