cover image Mighty Tug

Mighty Tug

Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by David Mottram. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7681-2

Mighty Tug has a full day of work on the New York City waterfront: “All aboard! Here I come, busy harbor!” Huge vessels loom over her but never begrudge her help; in fact, they greet Mighty Tug with smiles and almost courtly politeness (“Will you guide us in?”). Capucilli’s rhyming text includes some crowd-pleasing sound effects but also hits some choppy waters (“Small but oh so strong, she splashes toward shore,/ where the pigeons peck and the seagulls roar!”) and tends to rely on rhetorical questions to move the narrative forward (“What’s next in the busy, busy harbor?”). Mottram’s digitally manipulated paintings are more successful: subtle anthropomorphism gives the characters a toylike appeal, and the compositions have a shimmery, aquatic texture well suited to the setting. Some readers may yearn for more drama or conflict than the brief fire episode that concludes the book, but it’s refreshing to encounter a small-in-stature character who never doubts herself or feels compelled to curry favor with those bigger than her. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Jan.)