cover image Jack's New Boat

Jack's New Boat

Sarah McMenemy, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2477-4

Like McMenemy's Waggle , this warm tale of a toy sailboat touches on ordinary relationships in a satisfying way. Jack, a boy with blond hair the color of the beach, goes to the seashore to visit his Uncle Jim, a sailor. Uncle Jim has made Jack a small boat with red sails that stand out brightly against the pale-gold sand and white-capped waves. Yet shadowy blue storm clouds, diagonal slices of rain and choppy waters force Jack to stay indoors, and Uncle Jim says, "Let's wait for a calmer sea." Even when the weather relents, the "waves were still very big./ I'll just put it in at the edge of the water, thought Jack." Inevitably, the boat drifts out of his reach, and Jack, upset, calls Uncle Jim to search for it along the shore. They find it, improbably, docked alongside real sailboats in the harbor. "We'll make her seaworthy again," says the unfailingly patient Uncle Jim, repairing a torn sail with red thread. Everything is understated in the gouache and torn-paper images, composed in azure, navy and driftwood brown,, which appropriately evoke a bygone, unhurried era. McMenemy adroitly adjusts the pace by shifting between close-ups and multiple panels. While the boat is the catalyst and center of attention, McMenemy shows the tidal shifts in Jack's moods and anchors this sea story with Uncle Jim's reassuring presence. Ages 3-5. (June)