She needs a family. Could we take her home."" Continuing the initial child-adoption analogy, with its blatant pathos, the family does indeed ""adopt"" the-gaff-rigged sloop abandoned in the old boatyard; but once they get the boat home and start working on her, the book gets better. . . and better. . . until the reader too is holding his breath to see if she'll float. The launching accomplished, it's time for Father, with a hoist from the harbor crane, to step the mast into place. But the most exciting moment comes with the first ""All aboard"" and the first passage -- through two-specially-opened bridges -- to the open sea. The photos (by the illustrator of The Shadow Book and I Talk to Elephants) are tellingly composed, precisely observant of expressions and activities, and sensitively varied in mood; altogether a delight from first to last. And although the text almost scuttles itself at the beginning, later it becomes at least tolerable. A nautical glossary appends as it should -- this is the real story of the reclamation of a real boat, and a big inducement to do likewise.