It’s Black Dog and the crew of the schooner Shenandoah to the rescue!
In the harbor at Vineyard Haven there is adventure afoot. “It always starts in the same way / and ends when Black Dog saves the day.” A bottle washes against the dock, and Captain reads the note inside. Whale is in trouble! “Bark! Bark! Bark! ‘Let’s go and help!’ / Her message spreads from fish to kelp.” Kids Tess and Jack join Captain and Black Dog, and they sail off to help the whale. They pour seawater on the cetacean to keep him cool before pulling him back out to sea. Whale thanks them, and “With a last tail wave and a great big SPLISH, / Whale dives down to greet some fish.” Black Dog and the crew return home satisfied. “Black Dog, Captain and the schooner’s crew / Will go on other journeys too.” Employing doggerel that doesn’t always scan or even make total sense, teen author Schmidt (Hold Me Like a Breath, 2015, etc.) makes an inauspicious picture-book debut with this first of a projected series of adventures for Black Dog and company. Theophilopoulos’ animation-inspired illustrations are barely serviceable, not nearly accomplished enough to make up for the tortured rhyming text.
Perhaps future outings of the Shenandoah will prove more seaworthy. (Picture book. 4-7)