The Book Boat's In

Overview

Jesse has waited for months for the arrival of the book boat. There he finds a used copy of The Swiss Family Robinson that he desperately wants, but at twenty cents the book costs too much. After working hard, Jesse is deeply disappointed: he has only seventeen and a half cents. But his luck changes when he learns that there's another copy, which the owner will sell for just fourteen cents. This nostalgic picture book is based on the 1800s book boat that traveled along the Erie Canal. Colorful folk art-style ...

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Overview

Jesse has waited for months for the arrival of the book boat. There he finds a used copy of The Swiss Family Robinson that he desperately wants, but at twenty cents the book costs too much. After working hard, Jesse is deeply disappointed: he has only seventeen and a half cents. But his luck changes when he learns that there's another copy, which the owner will sell for just fourteen cents. This nostalgic picture book is based on the 1800s book boat that traveled along the Erie Canal. Colorful folk art-style paintings complement this book about the love of reading and the merits of hard work.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A historical tale that provides a glimpse into a unique part of 19th-century life on the Erie Canal: the floating library/bookstore. On a trip into town, Jesse is excited to see the book boat and even happier to find a book he loves, Johann David Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson. The book's price is more money than he has, so he spends the week before the boat's return working to earn seven more cents. Although he isn't able to earn enough, the book-boat proprietor offers him a cheaper copy, and Jesse is thrilled to be able to write his name in a book and mark it as his own. Librarians and teachers will appreciate Jesse's love of books and his commitment to working hard in order to own one. Although the text, particularly the dialogue, is not very creative, the historical information it provides, along with the folk-style gouache paintings, gives a strong sense of time and place. The scenes with backgrounds of the town, the countryside, and the general store are full of vibrant color and atmospheric detail. In one spread, a pair of horses can be seen pulling a boat up the river, showing how river traffic operated. An author's note gives a little more background information. A supplementary purchase.—Marian McLeod, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A pleasing historical tale about a boy willing to work hard for what he desires most--a book. "One sunny day, Jesse King and his pa drove into town." The year is 1835 in an agricultural area. Children will immediately notice colorful barges in the canal. The one that excites Jesse is Mr. Edwards' book boat, which comes through occasionally. Inside, Jesse quickly spots a red book: his favorite, The Swiss Family Robinson. Jesse longs to own it, but Pa cannot afford it and suggests Jesse might earn the money. The text is laced with dialogue featuring homey turns of phrase, revealing Jesse's passion for stories and capturing the warmth between the characters. Naïve folk-art–style paintings in bright gouache reflect Jesse's hopeful, eager nature. Although simply rendered, the facial expressions speak volumes. Jesse cheerfully labors throughout the week at a store, a stable and more, illustrating what life was like in the 19th century. (An author's note explains the history of floating libraries.) When the book boat comes back, Jesse finds the red book is gone, but Mr. Edwards has a solution. Jesse's pride of ownership and the closing scene of Jesse writing his name and the year in his very first book will resonate with book lovers of all ages. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823425211
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,316,964
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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