A father-and-child team venture out together on their tugboat, rescuing a small boat and navigating a storm before returning safely to their harbor.
Evocative watercolor illustrations effectively convey the ocean and harbor setting with azure skies, puffy clouds, swirling seas, and a rip-roaring thunderstorm with lightning streaking across purplish skies. While the intriguing illustrations are the book’s strongest feature, several illustrations do not have exact picture-to-text correlation. Some perplexing depictions that could disorient coastal readers include an ocean liner on a direct path for collision with a sailboat and the tugboat (as well as the nearby shore) and a jet shown in the hangar bay of an aircraft carrier, which would not likely be anywhere near this small harbor. Safety-conscious readers will be concerned by the lack of clearly depicted personal flotation devices on the child and father. The child (who is androgynous) is shown wearing a slim vest, but it isn’t clearly a life jacket. Sharp-eyed readers will note that the line that’s towing the dinghy the tug rescues disappears in some pictures, as does the dinghy’s occupant. The cast of characters includes people of color; the child’s father has light skin and dark hair, and the mother presents as Asian. The short, rhyming text conveys a dramatic and interesting story, but in the pictures, too many extraneous types of boats make unnecessary and illogical appearances. Nautical terms used in the story are defined in a glossary.
While the logical concerns don’t sink this ship, muffed details have it awash at the scuppers. (Picture book. 4-7)