________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 19 . . . . January 23, 2015


Morganís Boat Ride.

Hugh MacDonald. Illustrated by Anna Bald.
Charlottetown, PE: Acorn Press, 2014.
28 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-894838-96-2.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8.

Review by Vasso Tassiopoulos.

*** /4


Morgan ran bare toes through
the cool grass under the tall
birches beside the riverbank.

She knew she shouldnít swim in
the river when her mother wasnít
there. She climbed inside the little
boat and just imagined she was
floating in the big water.


Morganís Boat Ride, by Hugh MacDonald with illustrations by Anna Bald, is a story of unintentional exploration and adventure that will appeal greatly to young readers. The story begins with a little girl named Morgan who is waiting for her mother to finish working at home so that she can take her out to play. To escape her boredom, Morgan and her dog venture outside and sit in a boat by the riverbank. When the boat starts to drift down the river, Morganís great adventure also begins. The story explores the rural landscape by the water through Morganís innocent gaze. Readers also get to see Morganís fearless view juxtaposed with adultsí fearful point of view through the story. While Morgan is sailing, her boat is also slowly sinking. As Morgan and her dog, Skipper, enjoy their journey, they never realize they are in great danger and, instead, enjoy the views around them.

     Anna Baldís images highlight the intricate Prince Edward Island landscape that is experienced by Morgan. The vibrant watercolour illustrations of the landscape complement the sense of shared wonderment experienced by Morgan and the reader who is experiencing Morganís world through her eyes. The images also have an intimate sketchbook quality which gives the landscapes conveyed in the work a sense of authenticity. The human figures in the text also appear as haunting and strange which makes them appear both real and dreamlike at once. An example of the strange quality of the characters is Morgan and her motherís wild spiralling tentacle-like hair which floats out of their heads in each illustration. Morganís wide eyes staring at the reader also have a haunting quality but also contribute to her innocent wide-eyed view of the world.

     Throughout her journey, Morgan waves enthusiastically to all of the adults and children she sees on land. As she drifts further down the river, she does not realize that the people she encounters are scared for her safety, and she continues to enjoy her journey. When Morgan is finally saved by the coast guard, she still doesnít realize that they are saving her. Instead, she tells them about the fun time she had down the river. At the end of the story, she is returned to her mother and tells her she was never scared but had ďfun watching the world go by.Ē At the storyís end, readers will have gained an understanding of both child and adult perceptions when it comes to realizing the dangers that also come with learning and exploring oneís natural surroundings.


Vasso Tassiopoulos is a graduate of the Master of Arts program in Childrenís Literature at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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