Set sail in this fold-out edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic children's verse.
STARRED HONOR: Bank Street's Best Books of the Year 2021 Under Five List Bank Street College of Education, September 2021
This Robert Louis Stevenson poem is brought to life on pages that fold out rather than turn. On the cover, a White-presenting child with short, light-brown hair sets a toy sailboat adrift on a river. The book’s pages then open up left to right to reveal an expanding scene of the riverbank, with several more of these toy boats sailing down the water. Two to four lines of Stevenson’s verse are shared in white type on each page. As the book unfolds readers see more of the scene, including a frog eyeing its insect dinner flying overhead, a deer gazing at the water, and the silhouettes of a baseball-cap–wearing grown-up fishing with a child who’s admiring the boats. Sheban’s soft, golden-hour–lit art, in what looks to be watercolor and pastel or pencil, matches the mood of the poem perfectly. While the unusual binding is a brilliant idea that allows the structure of the book to emulate a meandering river, it may prove slightly unwieldy for lap reading, as, when extended, it is more than 3 feet long. The scene is completed with a view of another White child, this one with long hair, retrieving one of the toy boats. The content of Stevenson’s poem may float over the heads of the youngest readers, but the language is gorgeously sonorous, and the art and format do a wonderful job of creating an immersive experience. Gentle, atmospheric, and lovely.
–Kirkus(Starred Review), 02/15/2021
Showcasing a mesmerizing poem from Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, this board book unfolds into a six-panel panorama. The panels form a continuous, peaceful scene of the river at sunset, including a mill, an island, and a girl reaching for the little sailboats floating by her. Turn the entire unfolded book over to view riverside pictures of a boy, a fisherman, and several small animals, as well as the front and back covers. Beautifully illustrated in Sheban’s radiant artwork, this unusual but sturdy board book can be read, displayed, and playfully explored by young children. A quiet pleasure.