cover image The Ship in the Window

The Ship in the Window

Travis Jonker, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Viking, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-35057-7

In this work that follows a small ship and the beings who orbit it, Jonker (Just One Flake) introduces a man and a boy, both portrayed with light brown skin, who live in a lakefront cabin. A mouse named Mabel lives there, too. The man’s eyes are hidden by the lenses of his glasses, suggesting emotional distance, and he has for several months been working on an intricate model ship, “carefully perfecting every last detail. He wouldn’t even let the boy help.” The handsome vessel is just the right size for a mouse to sail, and Mabel is transfixed, longing to “be the brave captain.” The boy has a similar fantasy, but it’s Mabel who makes the first move one stormy night. Caldecott Medalist Cordell draws the gripping scenes that follow in sun-bleached blues and dense, delicate hatching that recalls old engravings. Mabel’s efforts bring triumph, a setback, and warm resolution as her exploits draw the three protagonists together. It’s gratifying to look on as the audacity of the story’s smallest, most vulnerable character breaks through the defenses of an intimidating adult. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (Aug.)