cover image Lily Leads the Way

Lily Leads the Way

Margi Preus, illus. by Matt Myers. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-536-21403-1

“With decks scrubbed, lines coiled, brass gleaming, flags flying, and sails puffed out proudly,” writes Preus (The Littlest Voyageur), a tall-masted but diminutive sailboat, Lily, is eager to leave the harbor and greet “a fleet of grand old tall ships” on the open waters of the lake. “Meee-me? Meee-me?” pleads Lily’s little horn to the huge lift bridge, which must raise before she can leave the harbor. But much bigger boats—including a behemoth ore boat and a coast guard cutter—push right past Lily and swamp her in their wake: “OOHHH-pen, OOHHH-pen” sound the biggest boats’ horns, to which the bridge dutifully responds “OOOHHH-kay. OOOHHH-kay”). Still, Lily persists, righting herself, slipping out under the bridge “just before it goes down again”—and ensuring that the flotilla makes it past the bridge and into the harbor. Myers’s (Hum and Swish) lusciously brush-stroked oil illustrations combine anthropomorphism (Lily’s deckhouse windows are a pair of bright, eager eyes), marine-scapes with purple-blue waters and creamy foam, and up-close action that’s tense but never scary. Whether readers are old salts or landlubbers, they’ll want to pipe this one aboard. An author’s note discusses the story’s beginnings in a real Great Lakes bridge. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)