From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-This picture book about a family living on an island in Lake Superior is so finely honed and concisely written that it reads like poetry. Carl wants a boat of his own. With hard work and lots of help from his neighbors, he manages to craft a small vessel. Each spread features a large illustration that emanates mist, light, fog, and even sand and sawdust, and always a sense of water and humidity. The watercolors are subdued, almost pointillist washes with stylized fine ink outlines framing fish, figures, the boat, and trees. There is pleasure, a sense of wonder, and appreciation for small details in nature and community in this celebration of a boy's first success. The writing has the smooth, easy rhythm and flow of oars dipping and lifting through the water, and with each immersion a fine thought surfaces. The book's lyrical quality has the feel of such classics as G. Macdonald's The Little Island (Dell, 1993) and Robert McCloskey's One Morning in Maine (Viking, 1952).Susannah Price, Boise Public Library, ID
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. In this picture book by the author of Snowflake Bentley
blank verse and evocative illustrations tell about a boy who builds his own boat and realizes a dream. After the death of his mother, young Carl lives with his sister and fisherman father in a close, Scandinavian American community on Lake Superior's Sand Island. He longs to push off in his own boat to a place where the quiet is "filled with water and sky," and with the help of his neighbors, he builds a rowboat, enjoys a blissful day on the lake, and returns to a "newest boat" celebration. Martin's simple, poetic text deftly balances small, revealing details about the island's characters and Carl's life with the particulars of boat building. Some children may find the story too
quiet, but they'll be drawn in by the illustrations, which capture the lake's translucent light and the story's nostalgic mood in expert, geometric line drawings washed with watery blue-green and sunset-orange colors. A subtle, beautifully crafted story about hard work, simple joys, and the small, warm communities of the historic upper-Midwest. Gillian Engberg
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