Thursday 14 June 2012

Busy Boats

Busy Boats Busy Boats by Susan Steggall (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781847801982
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis
Illustrated with collages of torn paper, Busy Boats is rhythmic text with full page artwork. The pictures are outstanding and detailed. Yellow cranes are loading. Fishermen are preparing their ropes, fishing nets and lobster crates. All sorts of boats are moving along deep blue water with a decoration of white foam.  There’s so much for a child to observe, discover from flags on the masts or flying from ropes, to windows in the houses being passed by. There are letters and numbers on the boats, shops and noticeboards. It’s like a Where’s Wally search with so much to see and learn.

The thick grey stones that hold up the jetty are caressed by the water as it laps against it. The tug boats are tugging; the seagulls are screeching and squawking. Helicopters are heading out over the sea. Islands and rocks are passed by sailing boats with their masts full blown; sheets to the wind.

On the streets beside the water, people are riding bikes, driving cars and walking. There is so much activity on every page that you must look carefully to absorb all the details.

Then the fishermen are coming home. Full nets are placed on trolleys then pushed along the quay. Others are unloading boxes onto their utes; others into trucks. Women are trying to see if they can buy fresh fish. Even the seagulls want a share.

This is a delightful book to be shared by adult and child. Fun and learning is a pleasurable combination for the nursery bookshelf. Susan Steggall is the author of The Life of a CarOn the Road and Rattle and Rap. Trains, cars and boats! With this medium, everything looks unique. Highly inventive and beautifully executed work!

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