To add some fun to summer reading storytimes, add some stories about boats!
An old boat gets a new lease on life in this distinctive story by award-winning artist and author Nikki McClure. The Old Wood Boat sits, floating in a drydock, remembering “the wind… islands and a sea of green” as she houses raccoons and blackberries grow across her decks. One day, a family arrives and purchases the boat, and set about making her sea-worthy again. Once the work is done, they set off for new adventures, and the boat keeps her new family safe and comfortable. It’s a lovely story of renewal and potential, with Nikki McClure’s trademark spare prose and striking cut-paper artwork. Back matter includes a glossary of nautical terms introduced in the story. A glorious summer story. Consider pairing with Nikki McClure’s counting book, 1 2 3 Salish Sea. Visit Nikki McClure’s website for more about her books.
Lily is a small sailboat who is so excited to greet a fleet of visiting tall ships! She races out to the harbor entrance and blows her horn – “Meee-me?” – to ask the bridge to lift and let her through, but bigger ships blast their horns so much louder and their wakes rock and roll poor Lily as they rumble past. When she finally sneaks through and spots the tall ships, she’s thrilled: until she realizes that the bridge will have to lift to let them pass, but these ships are silent! Will good manners and a determined little sailboat save the day? Crisp oil illustrations bring a charming anthropomorphic touch to the realism of this summery story. Illustrated Matt Myers captures the beauty of the water, with shades of blue communicating depth and movement against a summer sky with puffy, light clouds. The ships and land are colorful, set off against the blues, to bring this seafaring story to life. The boats don’t sport cartoony facial expressions, but they are there for those who look: the downcast eyes of a huge vessel as he trundles by Lily; a somber and focused coast guard cutter zips past Lily. Kids will love Lily’s sweet attempts to be seen, and be captivated by the sight of the regal tall ships as they approach the harbor. Lily Leads the Way is a story about determination, and carries a sweet message about being polite. An author’s note offers more information about bridges and boats. A wonderful storytime pick. Make sure to invite the kids to make their own boat horn noises!
Visit Craft Play Learn for fun boat craft ideas for a storytime activity. I love cork boat craft and the craft stick craft.
Margi Preus is the Newbery Honoree author of Heart of a Samurai (2010). Visit her author website for more about her books, and free downloadable resources, including reading guides. Matt Myers is the illustrator of the Infamous Ratsos book series. Find more about his work at his website.