The story takes place in an uncomfortably half-breed world of animals with part human qualities. Brim is an enthusiastic terrier, whose idealistic visions (like rebuilding the old barge, left behind by people in the dim, distant past) are generally viewed from the more conservative perspective of Twill, an aged, rather stuffy English sheepdog who acts as elder statesman in the community, and Oldest, a doddering, virtually dormant tortoise. Most of the animals become allied with the project and some old feuds are recognized as misunderstandings. The state of friendship which exists among the beasts becomes markedly absurd quite early in the book, when Brim jumps into the water to save a drowning guinea pig which he brings back to life by performing artificial respiration. The enemies of the project are some martens, who try to destroy the creative efforts of the others. Reader interest may well bog down long before the launching of the vessel. The story seems too pointless to be a satire and too limited to be a fantasy.