A big ship slaps the helping hand of a little tugboat in Braun’s straightforward tale of reckoning.
Pop the tug lives in a harbor populated with grand boats, presented by Braun on magnetic two-page spreads in the bold, thick colors of first-grade art class. The scenes bustle with purpose and the pleasure that comes with being engaged in work that you like; Pop squires his heavy loads with the easy hand of experience. Smiles grace all the elements of the picture, from the crane to the lighthouse. Then a great big new ship, Toot by name, all high and mighty with the arrogance of the clueless, arrives and declines Pop’s offer of a towrope. “I’m big and strong. I don’t need help from anyone, especially you.” Toot proceeds to run into the seawall, gets dressed down by the harbormaster and humbly accepts Pop’s tow back to the boatyard. There is a high degree of charm in the baldness of this pint-sized parable. The pacing is pleasingly swift, and the mood is upbeat. And it is impossible not to be smitten by a book with such ingenuous opening words: “This is Pop. Hello, Pop!”
A jaunty, minimalist drama that radiates a sense that all will be right by the time the sun goes down. (Picture book. 2-5)