cover image The Little Boat

The Little Boat

Kathy Henderson. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-420-6

""Down by the shore/ where the sea meets the land/ licking at the pebbles/ sucking at the sand"" a boy fashions a toy boat from a piece of styrofoam, a stick, and a bit of string. After a day of bobbing in the boy's hand-dug harbor, the boat is pulled out to sea by an afternoon breeze. In free-form verse tossed with lulling rhythms, Henderson narrates the little boat's adventure as it passes by swimmers, fishermen, a lighthouse, a tugboat and an enormous tanker. In the silent ""heaving sliding gliding breathing water under endless sky,"" the buoyant boat survives such adversities as ``uneasy'' seas, ``roaring'' winds, and a big fish with a ``mouth full of teeth... snapping for something to eat.'' In the end, another breeze brings it safely to a foreign shore, where another child--a girl--reaches out to it from the water's edge. Accented by black-and-white spot pieces, Benson's textured watercolor-and-ink renderings of this imaginative journey vibrate with the possibilities of the open sea. Ages 4-up. (Aug)