THE GOODBYE BOAT by Mary Joslin

THE GOODBYE BOAT

Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A picture book for the very young that attempts to grapple with the sorrow of coping with the death of a loved one. The text has so few words that readers and listeners will have to work hard to plumb its significance. “Friends together/laughing,/loving./Sad friends leaving,/wondering,/weeping.” The pictures show a gray-haired woman, a younger woman and man, a boy, a girl, and a dog in the sun; the children and the dog play on the beach, and then, as the sky grows dark, watch a boat in the distance. “Goodbye boat./It’s lost from sight.” The children are seen separate and alone in the twilight, and then in their beds. Soon it is morning again, and they play along the shore. “Yet when the boat has gone from view/it’s surely sailing somewhere new” and the scene is of a boat in full sun, with the older woman on board, and a dove flying in the golden light. The illustrations are hieratic and based on full, rounded geometric forms: the colors are beautifully rendered from light to dark, and each page has tiny boxes of details, almost like a bit of stop-action film, along its borders. With the aid of an imaginative adult, this book may spark comforting discussion in the face of losing a loved one; young readers may find it too abstract for perusing alone. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8028-5186-X
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1999