While there’s no plot to speak of, this engaging tale paints a kid-friendly portrait of the joys of life on the Thames.



A rhyming debut picture book explores the average day of a cat who lives on a boat in London.

Fernando, whose paws have “thumbs,” is a black barge cat. He lives on a sailboat sporting bright red sails that travels up and down the Thames River. Mangal (Seed School, 2018, etc.) populates the illustrations’ backgrounds with British icons, such as the London Bridge, giving a condensed sense of place. Though notes at the end reveal that Thames barges like Fernando’s are no longer used for cargo, the cat’s boat carries sugar, coal, and hay upriver. A bearded skipper and a younger-looking mate, both white, offer Fernando scraps of traditional foods like pie and mash. Sometimes the feline lies in the sun; other times, he climbs up to the topsail. Peppered with terms that will give young readers a taste of a nautical vocabulary (hold, leeboards, forestay, bob), Samuels’ rhyming text is short and accessible, with the delightful cartoon images providing the necessary clues for unfamiliar words. Green-eyed Fernando is a charmer, and kids are likely to wonder when they can go sailing on a ship like the cat’s. A diagram of the boat serves as a coloring page at the book’s end.

While there’s no plot to speak of, this engaging tale paints a kid-friendly portrait of the joys of life on the Thames.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3110-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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