An illustrated chronicle of life afloat, including boats, cameras and denizens of the watery world.
Arnosky (Little Burro, 2013, etc.) is an experienced naturalist and the author and illustrator of many science-themed books for children. This slim volume offers a glimpse of how he finds the subjects and images for his books while cruising waterways from southern Florida to northern Maine by canoe, kayak and motorboat. Each chapter represents a different boating adventure with Arnosky in pursuit of some sort of elusive creature, and the book ends with a final heart-gripping story of a stormy rescue on Vermont’s Lake Champlain. The author also tracks crocodiles, discovers wild ponies, has brushes with sharks, fishes the Gulf Stream and plays with puffins, sometimes in one of his own boats and sometimes in that of a more (or less) experienced guide. His wife, Deanna, a photographer, is his constant companion. Arnosky’s illustrations are appealing and well-done, particularly the black-and-white drawings documenting his boats and the details of his adventures. The drawing of his exploration boat, the Crayfish, for instance—with its long towline submerged beneath it—is witty, gestural and illustrative. The paintings convey both the professionalism of an experienced illustrator and the genuine passion of a nature lover. Arnosky’s text follows suit: well-written, gentle, not meant to challenge. There’s much here that boaters, naturalists and photographers will identify with and enjoy. Arnosky’s geographical scope is wide, too—the book’s nine chapters cover much of the Eastern Seaboard, including many of its beloved vacation spots, so it’s sure to find an audience with snowbirds and cottage-dwellers. Some will certainly raise an eyebrow at Arnosky’s nonironic claim to have seen “Champ,” Lake Champlain’s famous mythical sea monster, in the flesh, but he keeps this rather startling revelation confined to just one small corner of his own personal story.
Charmingly illustrated and filled with interesting facts about eastern waterways and the animals that inhabit them.