Author: Laden, Nina
A child and his beloved giraffe go on a grand sea adventure.
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/17)
School Library Journal (11/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2017 PreS-K—A child in a red-and-white striped shirt and a giraffe with red spots set off in a kayak. Their journey is presented in four-line verses that rhyme. The narration is generally third person ("Yellow kayak./Lightning streaks./Thunder roars./Sea wall leaks."), although Laden occasionally mixes voices midstream, presumably to preserve the iambic flow and brevity: "Rain stops./Be brave./Bail boat./Good save." The brave little sailor and his oarsman remain a calm comfort to one another. Their 48-hour adventure offers viewers a glimpse at a variety of swirling underwater life from salmon and squid to otters and octopuses. A second threat from a school of whales is quickly resolved. The compositions, rendered in pencil and digitally colored, are dominated by blue-greens and pinks with touches of other colors, particularly golden yellow. Castrillon has an apparent fondness for scrollwork, a predilection that lends many of her scenes a folk-art flavor, a sense of the decorative also seen in her first collaboration with Laden, If I Had a Little Dream. Some may find certain scenes overly ornamental, as on a page with mixed perspective in which the kayak and a seagull are viewed from above, while the clouds and a curtain of arabesques seem to be placed head-on. Those who prefer more active protagonists will need to look elsewhere. VERDICT The visual and aural rhythms of this circular voyage are probably best suited to sleepy snugglers.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2018 In lilting rhymes and lush, jewel-toned illustrations, Laden and Castrillon deliver an imaginative adventure through stormy seas. A child and a giraffe set out to sea in the titular craft, meeting sea creatures, weathering a scary storm, and befriending a pod of whales before finally making it home. The gentle, spare couplets, composed of only two words per line, tell just a shell of a story, but Castrillon’s beautifully surreal artwork is captivating. Each scene is full of imaginative sea creatures, crashing waves, blue-green tendrils of rain, and moonlit skies, all rendered in swirling organic shapes and lines and a dense palette of saturated tones. The sea after a storm—with rolling humps of waves in glowing pinks and fiery reds in the light of the setting sun—is particularly lovely. Though the story is less than satisfying, little ones likely won’t mind, since the artwork is so gorgeous, and the wind-down conclusion, wherein the travelers are welcomed home, might make this a nice pick for bedtime. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.