cover image Christmas Ahoy

Christmas Ahoy

Erin Dealey, illus. by Kayla Stark. Sleeping Bear, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5341-1178-3

Santa gets his sea legs in Dealey’s Christmassy concept book. Varied watercraft, including gondolas, paddle boards, tugboats, and many others, parade across green-blue spreads that count upward from one to 10 in rhyme as part of an apparent holiday parade. Boat types embrace holiday themes—there’s a “Sugar Plum Ferry” and “sweet gingerbread house boats”—and Stark festoons the myriad vessels with delicate twinkling lights, candy canes, ribbons, and the odd Christmas tree (or, in the case of one boat, “four surfboard trees”). After Santa’s barge fails to materialize, faces in the crowd, depicted with varied skin tones, look concerned, and jaunty rhymes provide detail: “Rumors abound! The crowd starts to chatter./ The judges look worried. What could be the matter?” Luckily, the reindeer and a pale-skinned Santa soon glide into sight, with a fishy twist appropriate to this merry maritime read. Back matter includes boat facts and history. Ages up to 5. (July)