An anthropomorphic beaver child makes driftwood boats and sets them to sea, hoping they’ll reach his father, who has passed away.
Buckley and his mama “didn’t have much, but they always had each other.” Their house by the ocean is small and spare, but because of this, items of great import are visible: a family portrait, a snapshot of a moment at the beach, Buckley’s artwork. Buckley spends his days exploring the beach, finding serenity and joy in the natural world. From its driftwood he makes a boat for Papa, casting it off on his birthday with a note: “For Papa. Love Buckley.” This physical connection, with its message of love and longing, inspires Buckley to continue to create. With practice and care he learns to make wondrous boats, sending his best ones to Papa. Repeat reads reveal how deeply Mama treasures and supports Buckley, how much she wants to make life beautiful and full of wonder for him, and how much he appreciates her in turn. The simplicity of the artwork enhances the quiet, meaning-drenched moments—a solitary walk under the moonlight; the reassurance of a hand held; the warmth of a goodnight kiss. Done in washes of color in a gentle, earthy palette, the ink drawings have an honesty and earnestness worthy of the story.
Heartbreaking and hopeful, innocent and wise, a gentle story about healing and finding connection—both in the past and present. (Picture book. 4-7)