HARBOR by Donald  Crews


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The colors are muted, grayed--but that's not the only way Crews' new book differs from Freight Train, Truck, etc. For one thing, it's mostly an album of types of ships found in a harbor, each precisely rendered. The types are identified on a page of silhouetted "Ship Shapes" at the close--which the parent asked "what's this?" might have liked to know about at the beginning. That's especially true of the occasional spread that names several types without identifying them (e.g., "Liners, tankers, tugboats, barges, and freighters"). A similar problem of knowing what's what occurs with the opening spread: we see the harbor whole, read the words "Wharves, docks, piers, and warehouses"--but how many adults can distinguish between a wharf, a pier, and a dock? (As it happens, the one label, "Harbor Piers," is on the pier buildings--which some might interpret as warehouses.) The reason these fine points matter is that, spread by spread, there is almost no conceptual content; the two exceptions are a scene of identical tugboats going in opposite directions ("They do not need to turn around. The back becomes the front"); and a scene of two tugs and two barges which clearly illustrates "Tugs push. Tugs tow." As for the visual excitement, it's concentrated at the close--when we see a fireboat, "ready for an emergency" at the dock, then shoot water in all directions. . . for "a celebration." Much of this, however, approaches the here-and-now norm--executed with greater flair.
Pub Date: March 15th, 1982
ISBN: 0688073328
Page count: 34pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1982


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