cover image Tugboat


Michael Garland. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2866-3

Garland (the Miss Smith series) demonstrates the all-weather feats of a New York City tug in this concise addition to the tugboat-themed bookshelf. Unlike the heroes of Little Toot or Scuffy the Tugboat, Garland’s tugboat is only lightly personified in the text—“The little boat is ready to do big jobs”—and is portrayed realistically in his digitally assembled illustrations, with a bright red cabin and the name Hudson emblazoned on its side. As the book progresses, Garland delineates the many important jobs of a tug, including pushing a stately cruise ship filled with vacationers, pulling a schooner past the Statue of Liberty during a parade of tall ships, and moving a fireworks barge into place for a Fourth of July celebration. Less glamorous work includes guiding a tanker in a snowstorm and pulling a coal barge and a barge filled with garbage (“Hold your nose!”). The clipped yet informative text plays a backup role to Garland’s often dramatic illustrations, which highlight the tugboat’s diminutive size compared to the massive ships it assists, hitting home the idea that small can be mighty. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)