cover image Tugga-Tugga Tugboat

Tugga-Tugga Tugboat

Kevin Lewis, , illus. by Daniel Kirk. . Hyperion, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-5615-2

In its title and subject matter, this book recalls this team's Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo . With a "Toot! Toot!," a spunky little tugboat shows how it's the hero of the harbor, whether helping the big ships ("Giant tanker needs a nudge./ Propeller spin.../ But will it budge?/ Tugga-tugga tugboat./ Grab and guide and float, boat") or putting out fires ("Tugga-tugga tugboat./ Splash and spray and float, boat"). The action is even more fun because readers quickly realize that the harbor is not quite what it seems. The cargo on the wharf looks a lot like bars of soap; the ducks appear to be more of the rubber than the feather variety; and the ocean is positively bubbly. The final pages reveal why: the tug's hard work has been the fantasy play of a boy in a bubble bath. Although the portrait of the human hero pales next to the toys, the early scenes find Kirk in top form. The smooth, bright surfaces and chunky objects will remind readers of their own toys, while the dramatic, dynamic perspectives exude just the right amount of brought-to-life magic. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)