Jesse and his father hitch up the wagon and head into town to do some shopping at the general store. To Jesse’s surprise and delight, the R. Edwards Library and Bookstore boat is docked along the wharf. Jesse finds a book he wants, and, at his father’s suggestion, does odd jobs for the week to earn the money to pay for it. The following week, Jesse finds his book gone, but Mr. Edwards has another copy, a bit more worn, but cheaper for it. This simple story illuminates an overlooked facet of library history—floating libraries—while combining the honest values of an earlier era with a straightforward telling. Cotten’s clean language feels true to its time, matched by the direct composition of Lessac’s primitive-style paintings. An author’s note fills in some historical details about the Erie Canal and the boats that traveled along it, adding curricular opportunities to this earnest, old-fashioned tale. Grades K-3. --Thom Barthelmess
About the Author
Cynthia Cotten(Cotton) a children's author in Virginia writing fiction and poetry for young people.