“The Hudson River is smooth or choppy. It is blue or gray. It is swift or sluggish depending on the day.”
On the Hudson River, if you look closely, you will find a cheerful yellow tugboat called Bill and a pleasant but leaky barge named Mabel who are friends. Brightly colored illustrations capture the feeling of bygone times, and gentle rhymes full of alliteration bounce briskly along as the two maneuver through choppy waves and cool, lazy water to perform their various duties (Bill pushes or pulls, while Mabel transports gravel). The other boats on the river are ships, bigger and slicker and also more arrogant and condescending, particularly toward poor Mabel, but the two friends just pretend not to hear them. Then one day, a kitten falls into the water, and only Mabel comes to its aid. When the newspaper comes out the following day, you can bet the big ships have changed their tunes, but even better than that, the two boats have made a new friend. Sure to be a favorite with young listeners, this warm and comforting selection, eminently suitable for bedtime or laptime reading, has the feeling of a classic to be savored. Carpenter’s retro-styled illustrations employ the time-honored convention of representing eyes as windows (lashed in the case of Mabel’s and frowning in the cases of the mean boats'), the primary palette further adding to the old-time feel of the illustrations.
An old-fashioned story with timeless appeal. (Picture book. 2-5)