THE FERRYBOAT RIDE
Volume 21 Number 6
The Ferryboat Ride is a picture-book based on the experience of riding a B.C. ferry, and is related from the vantage-point of a child newly discovering the joys of a boat ride.
The book is not an actual story but is composed of poetic vignettes of a journey, given in rough sequential order, and each poem is accompanied by a full-colour illustration on the opposite page.
While the concept is excellent and the presentation promising, the actual execution is disappointing. The artist has chosen to use a child's perspective (rather than conventional perspective), in which cars seemingly lie on their sides, a bend in the channel sends water up to the sky, and animals are the same size as ocean vessels. This gives a confused and crowded effect, which, in my view, detracts from rather than adds to the child appeal. (One pre-schooler I shared the book with grasped it out of my hands at one point and turned the book sideways in order to comprehend the picture.)
The simple four-line poems maintain an internal rhyming structure of ABCB, and the straightforward language used propels the reader briskly through the book. Because of the uncomplicated vocabulary, the poems should not pose too great a challenge for beginning readers. This is not a book of reflective poems for a child to muse over, but it does transmit the questioning wonder surrounding a journey that children universally find exciting.
Because of its west coast content, this book may be appropriate for libraries in B.C., but, because of the reservations I've expressed above, I would consider it a marginal purchase for other regions.
Alison Mews is Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, Newfoundland
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