A lonely fisherman finds an unexpected seagoing friend.
He sails the seas alone, the burly, white, brown-bearded fisherman in the knitted cap, strumming his banjo as he sits on the side of his modest wooden boat. A sudden noise attracts his attention: it’s a tern with a broken wing, cowering in the boat’s stern. The fisherman gently splints the bird’s wing and devises a makeshift nest in the top drawer of his dresser. After its recovery, the little bird becomes his constant companion. But the fisherman knows that a boat is not a proper home for a bird, and winter is coming. Through his spyglass, he spots a lovely island in the distance, dotted with palm trees. It’s time to say goodbye; the bird flies away to his new home. To remember his friend, the fisherman frames a single feather and puts it up on the wall of his cabin, then decides it’s time to head home. The warm, detailed illustrations are the stars of Duncan’s simple friendship fable. Scenes of the snug ship’s cabin contrast effectively with underwater views; one dramatic wordless spread shows the small boat churning along above an enormous whale six times its size. The affection between man and bird is plain. Cabin decorations hint at a complicated back story for the fisherman, and readers will wonder why he is alone.
Sweet and affecting. (Picture book. 3-6)