SCHOONER by Pat Lowery Collins


Age Range: 8 - 12
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None of the romance, hard work, lacquer, and love that could be laid out on the keel of the wooden boat being made by hand here is evidenced, and that’s a shame. There’s technical knowledge and intelligence, not to mention a promising premise, as a youngster chronicles the making of this schooner in his diary. But the text breaks one of the cardinal rules of storytelling: it tells instead of shows, more occupied with using the technical words of boat-building than presenting interaction, emotion, or even plumbing the sources of fascination we have with boats. Collins’s (Just Imagine, 2001, etc.) art doesn’t help. Its sketchy painted panels at best hint at what is being done, thereby obfuscating the process, or even the looks of wonder and resolve on the faces of the men building the boat over a period of months as must have shown in her research photographs. Wooden boat–building is a meticulously precise and methodical process that appeals to the proud and measured New England sensibility where it is now kept alive and passed from generation to generation. Perhaps you just have to be there, but maybe one day someone will tell the story. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-889833-35-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Commonwealth Editions
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2002


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