cover image Shanty Boat CL

Shanty Boat CL

Charles Temple. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66163-5

Temple and Hall's newest picture book collaboration is part ballad, part ghost story and part tall tale. Uncle Sheb makes his home on a shabby, ramshackle ``cabin on a raft,'' and he's been most content with his life on the lower Mississippi: catching and frying up fish, watching the stars and steering clear of landlocked chores like milking cows. So, when Sheb ``up 'n' dies,'' his friends show their respect by sinking the boat, ``uncle and all.'' Now the local legend claims that on a clear night, ``If you watch and squint your eyes just right, / You'll see a shanty boat passin' in the middle of the night.'' Temple's rousing, dialect-rich language and lots of repetition infuse the text with a clap-along Cajun flavor. Hall's collagraphs bustle with a tone of joyous confusion. Her Sheb and his grinning pets seem at ease amidst any ruckus around them. Though some of the phrasing may prove a bit difficult for younger readers, this catchy rhyming story will provide tongue-tickling entertainment. Ages 4-8. (Mar . )