The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey (released March 2)

Published by Norton Young Readers

The Old Boat: Pumphrey, Jarrett, Pumphrey, Jerome: 9781324005179: Books

Summary:  In this follow-up to The Old Truck, the Pumphrey brothers show a boat through its years of service as a fishing vessel.  Initially, a boy and his mother (or grandmother) fish in the waters off the coast of an island; as time passes, the boy grows up.  He now fishes alone, and must go further and further out to sea to find fish as the waters around the island grow increasingly polluted.  After a storm at sea, readers see the boat under the water with a hole in the bottom, and a “new sailor” who turns the tide by cleaning up the island.  As he works with others to restore the beach and ocean, readers can see the old boat underwater, gradually decaying and becoming part of the seascape.  On the final page, an old man stands on the island with a young girl, both of them fishing in the coastal waters.  56 pages; ages 4-9.

Pros:  You had me at “book about an old vehicle by the Pumphrey brothers”.  Like The Old Truck, this tells the story of a family and shows the passage of time through the illustrations, created with similar handcrafted stamps.  There is also a subtly conveyed environmental message.  I was hoping for a Caldecott honor for you, Pumphrey brothers, but do not give up…maybe 2022 will be your year!

Cons:  I found the reference to the “new sailor” a bit confusing.  Was it really a new (different) sailor, or the same old one who became like a new person after a near death experience?  I tend to think the latter, but kids may take it more literally.

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