cover image Trim Sets Sail (Adventures of Trim #1)

Trim Sets Sail (Adventures of Trim #1)

Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Kristy Caldwell. Peachtree, $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-6826-3290-1

This historical chapter book, a series kickoff, stars “a kitten who was always ready to go” in Trim—the real-life cherished ship’s cat of British explorer Matthew Flinders (1774–1814), who captained the HMS Investigator around Australia. After happenstance sees Trim becoming the ship’s cat, short pithy lines from Hopkinson (The Story of a Story) and lively wash-and-ink style digital cartoons by Caldwell (Thanks to Frances Perkins) depict the dark gray feline finding both his sea legs and his place in the ship’s small community, which includes a doting dog, a skeptical parrot, and the ship’s young artist, portrayed with brown skin. In chapter-length vignettes, Trim learns how to climb up and down from the crow’s nest, proves his mettle by saving the parrot from a dive-bombing seagull, and rescues himself when he lands in the salty drink—all before the ship even leaves the bay. A final scene portrays the vessel under full sail, ploughing through purple-blue waters on a starry night, and promises sprightly adventures ahoy for a feline who’s the very definition of pluck: “Trim is a brave cat,” Jack declares; “My friend’s a brave, swimming, climbing cat!” Publishing simultaneously: Trim Helps Out. The human crew is shown with varying skin tones. Ages 7–10. (Oct.)