Intrepid Little Boat encounters pint-sized obstacles before returning safely to his family.
Here’s an author who understands how much bravery it takes to be little in a big world. Little Boat floats through mild perils that will feel quite familiar to most toddlers: a crowded shipping lane where he fears being bumped, a frightening run-in with a much bigger freighter, concern about a scary storm, and loneliness. Little Boat’s anxiety is apparent, as he’s pictured teeny-tiny against the waves, but the clouds are so sweet-faced and the waters so gently rolling that it’s clear there’s no real danger. After he successfully navigates the challenges, Little Boat’s parents congratulate him on his brave solo expedition, and toddlers will similarly bask in his feeling of accomplishment. Although the small ship is ostensibly on his journey alone, he’s gently advised and reassured by a narrator who makes sure everyone, including the audience, knows that “Little Boat is fine!” The spare art is expressive in its simplicity, with ships made of basic shapes, rustically outlined and perfectly personified with paint-dabbed faces, all set against a tonally pleasing palette of blue, teal, and rose. Our hero’s white hull, jaunty triangular flag, and blush-pink–dotted cheek is both easily spotted and eminently charming.
With this masterful board book, little listeners are in for some smooth sailing. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)