- The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey
Trade ed. ISBN 9781324005179 $17.95
Reviewed from digital galleys R 3–6 yrs
A boy goes fishing with his grandmother, heading from their small, possibly Caribbean island far out into the ocean in their old boat. Time clearly passes: the grand-mother’s hair gets whiter on their trips, the boy becomes taller and eventually sails the old boat alone, and the waters are increasingly polluted with garbage. When the [End Page 311] boat sinks in a storm, the man, joined by his new family, shifts to diving offshore to collect trash and clean the waters that for so long have served him. In line with their previous readaloud, The Old Truck (BCCB 1/20), the Pumphreys have created a book that says more with its images than with its few lyrical words, as when “The old boat caught wants and wishes, waves and wonders” is juxtaposed with an ocean whose sea creatures mingle with broken bottles and discarded plastic bags. Also like their previous title, the book utilizes the old boat to represent a generational tradition in a family of color and the cyclical nature of life, here working well with the theme of pollution’s increase. The Pumphreys again utilize their artistic technique of creating many unique print stamps to compose each scene in this quiet tale.