Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Book Boat's In by Cynthia Cotten -- ADVISABLE

Cotten, Cynthia and Frané Lessac The Book Boat's In 32 pgs. Holiday House, 2013. $16.95. PICTURE BOOK.

In a time after canals were built but before public libraries were widely accessible, boats loaded with books traveled up and down the Erie Canal, selling their stories for a few pennies each. Young Jesse has waited a long time for the book boat to come around, and when it finally arrives he climbs aboard. He eagerly picks out a red hardcover version of his favorite tale, Swiss Family Robinson. Unfortunately, the book costs twenty cents and he only has thirteen -- and a week to earn the remaining pennies before the boat comes through on its last voyage for quite a while. Thus begins a week of chores, as Jesse works to earn his book. But when he returns to the book boat seven days later, short of his goal by just a few pennies, he's in for a surprise.

The Book Boat's In provides a nice window into history, with an empathetic character who works hard to achieve his goals -- even if he does fall short. Jesse's work ethic and love of books set a nice example for students, as does his willingness to adapt. Not likely to be as popular as some books on the shelves, as it is far wordier than necessary and the pictures are not as appealing as they could be, but would be a nice teacher/librarian selection to pair with lessons on the Erie Canal, libraries, and goal-setting.

EL -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by: Caryn

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