Bunting and Carpenter (Little Bear’s Little Boat, 2003) team again with a story riding on a Thoreau-vian sensibility with a Zen serenity.
Big Bear has outgrown his boat, so he has given it to Little Bear—who is having a blast with it—and embarked on building a bigger boat. It evolves from looking like a coracle to a whaler—a big rowboat—which is just the ticket, until well-meaning friends suggest Big Bear add a top deck, and a mast, and a cabin. Big Bear, no great carpenter, creates a shambling ramshackle of a boat—off true in every sense of the words. Big Bear gently tells his friends that the boat is not the one of his dreams. So he simplifies, simplifies, back to the big rowboat, back to something ancient and enduring, something to float on to watch the moon rise and the stars shoot, to take a nap to the lap of the water against the hull. The text has a clarity that could be set to music; Carpenter’s artwork is spare, but its colors couldn’t be more emotive and its poses more natural in their capturing of motion and mood.
This story is more than just a tale of sticking to your vision—it’s a small world unto itself. A keeper. (Picture book. 4-8)