A boy named Arrow recounts his journey from Seattle to Alaska to visit his grandfather.
Six-year-old Arrow longs for seagoing adventures, “playing captain of the cedar stump in the backyard.” He receives an invitation from Grampy Lightning and travels to Alaska on his aunt’s salmon tender boat, learning about the fishing boat and its crew during their travels. Arrow and his grandfather return to Seattle together aboard a friend’s seaplane. The longish story is told in a lyrical style, full of rich vocabulary and evocative phrases. Striking illustrations in muted blues accented with shapes of deep black have the look of woodcuts but are actually cut-paper designs in the artist’s distinctive style. A recipe for “Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies” (like those served on the salmon boat) is included on the final page. This space would have been better utilized for descriptions of the Seattle locations mentioned in the text (the Locks and Lake Union), though a map is located on the endpapers. It shows Puget Sound and Vancouver Island, marking Seattle and indicating Alaska with a directional arrow; it is too bad there is no greater specificity than that.
This intriguing and delightfully illustrated story will be of particular interest to young readers in Washington state and Alaska, who are least likely to notice the skimpiness of geographical detail. (Picture book. 5-8)