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The Old Boat
Cover of The Old Boat
The Old Boat
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A Washington Post Best Children's Book of 2021 A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021 The creators of The Old Truck set sail with an old boat and an evocative, intricately crafted exploration of...
A Washington Post Best Children's Book of 2021 A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021 The creators of The Old Truck set sail with an old boat and an evocative, intricately crafted exploration of...
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  • A Washington Post Best Children's Book of 2021

    A New York Public Library Best Book of 2021

    The creators of The Old Truck set sail with an old boat and an evocative, intricately crafted exploration of home and family.

    Off a small island,

    an old boat sets sail

    and a young boy

    finds home.

    Together, boy and boat ride the shifting tides, catching wants and wishes until fate calls for a sea change. Brothers and collaborators Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey's newest picture book is a masterfully crafted celebration of the natural world and tribute to the families we make and the homes that we nurture.

About the Author-

  • Jarrett Pumphrey is an author/illustrator and the former cofounder and CEO of a tech startup. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 11, 2021
    This tale from the Pumphrey brothers (The Old Truck) excels at showing rather than telling. Tight, vivid prose by Jarrett Pumphrey telegraphs the story’s essence, while spreads by Jerome Pumphrey show outings shared by two brown-skinned figures—one young, one old—who together take a green fishing skiff out to open sea. As the pages turn, “the old boat caught wants// and wishes,// waves// and wonders,” the child and the adult mature, and the waters fill with garbage—“First shallow.// Then deep.” One fateful day, the child, now grown, takes the craft out alone and is overtaken by a storm, the boat sinking just offshore alongside plastic bags, tires, milk crates, and more. Carried back to the beach, the pilot sees that honoring intergenerational memories requires work close to home. Helpers fill garbage bags, and swimmers with nets clean farther out. Soon, fish return to the shallows, sea plants grow, and the sunken boat hosts life. The artwork’s sun-bleached shapes have immediate visual impact, and the story conveys the idea of change, both damage and restoration, occurring on a relatively brief human scale. Ages 6–8. Agent (for author and illustrator): Hannah Mann, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2021
    A multigenerational tale of a boat's life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats. In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy's aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a "new sailor" cleans up the land and water with others' help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the "new sailor" suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book's earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot. A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2021
    Preschool-Kindergarten It's an old boat--but a good boat--and it carries a boy and, presumably, his grandparent on many productive trips together. The text says they catch "wants / and wishes, / waves / and wonders," signaling that more is happening than simply fishing. The words and images operate on multiple levels, with the illustrations demonstrating the passage of time through the steady aging of the characters, page by page. Eventually the boy, now a man, is on the boat alone and lost, until he capsizes near a small island. Here he finds new direction, purpose, and a family. Similar to the Pumphreys' The Old Truck (2020), stamped images are digitally composed to create illustrations that are intricately designed but also simple and approachable. The sunny color palette assures readers that, even at sad points, the man will find his way. An awareness of environmental concerns runs through the visual narrative, foreshadowing a reassuring conclusion. This sensitive message about growth and connection is perfectly pitched to resonate with readers young, old, and journeying between.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2021

    K-Gr 2-"Off a small island, an old boat rode the tide." In minimal text and slowly evolving illustrations readers will experience the passage of time and the wonder of the coastline, open water, and marine life. In a distinctive illustrative style with double-page spreads in a warm and energetic palette the story of generations of fisher-folk is told. The passage of time is rendered effectively page by page and the subtle and not-so-subtle changes will draw inquisitive readers in for closer inspection. While this would make a great companion to the Pumphreys's much-lauded debut title The Old Truck, this title as a stand-alone will be useful in environmental units and will engage students as they examine the art and notice the impact humans can make, for the positive or the negative, on the environment. VERDICT A melancholy call to an appreciation of nature and a call to action toward stewardship of the natural world on shore and off. -John Scott, Friends Sch. of Baltimore

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

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    Norton Young Readers
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