Eight boats sail across the elongated double-page spreads, rendered in primary-color watercolors and accompanied by an appropriate sound.
Movement and proportional size are implied by both the sounds and changes in how the water is depicted. The cruise ship takes up almost the entire 24-inch expanse and sits in a deep, blue sea of calm, while the speedboat seems ready to zip through choppy water on the recto, leaving a foamy wake on the left. Some of the boats will be foreign to many board-book–age children, but that won't stop them from making the boat noises: “whee, whee,” for the fireboat, “hooooonk,” for the ocean liner, and “chum-splish, chum-splash,” for the paddle boat. The joke about the noise a gondola makes will go right over the heads of young children, but it will make their parents smile, and soon toddlers will be singing “O sole mio,” too. There is no clutter to this book. Smart parents will use it as a vocabulary builder and then explore the 623.8 shelves at the library to satisfy the curiosity it will arouse. The 12-inch-wide by 6-inch-high format will make it hard to shelve, but no matter—it won't sit on the shelf for long.
The real challenge will be keeping it out of the bathtub. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)