cover image Story Boat

Story Boat

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Rashin Kheiriyeh. Tundra, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6359-8

Maclear (Operatic) captures in lyrical verse the lives of two young refugees, for whom “here” is a different place every day. In warm, childlike drawings on blue pages, Kheiriyeh (Saffron Ice Cream) portrays a group of people dressed in thick overcoats, their belongings loaded in carts and suitcases, helping each other. A girl in the group speaks to a smaller boy about the few treasured belongings that give meaning to their existence. Their teacup is one: “Every morning,/ As things keep changing,/ We sit wherever we are/ And sip, sip, sip.../ From this cup.” A page turn corresponds to a new perception: “And this cup is a home.” Kheiriyeh draws the children within the cup underneath a bright orange sun. More cherished objects—the family’s blanket (“patterned and soft”), their lamp, a field of flowers—become the children’s “here.” And as the blanket becomes a sail, the lamp a lighthouse, and so on, the objects combine, becoming a boat that carries everyone over the waves, and a story that takes the group at last to a welcoming place. The creators tell a refugee story in simple language with everyday objects, making it graspable for young readers. Ages 3–7. [em](Feb.) [/em]