Toy Boat

Toy Boat

4.0 4
by Randall de Seve, Loren Long

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A little boy has a toy boat. He made it out of a can, a cork, a yellow pencil, and some white cloth. The boy and his boat are inseparable, until one day when the wind pushes the toy boat out into the wide lake. Alone now, the little boat must face fierce waves, a grumpy ferry, a sassy schooner, and a growling speed boat. How the little boat misses the boy! But if he…  See more details below


A little boy has a toy boat. He made it out of a can, a cork, a yellow pencil, and some white cloth. The boy and his boat are inseparable, until one day when the wind pushes the toy boat out into the wide lake. Alone now, the little boat must face fierce waves, a grumpy ferry, a sassy schooner, and a growling speed boat. How the little boat misses the boy! But if he is going to survive, he must figure a way to do it on his own.

Loren Long has a timeless and magical touch. As he did with The Little Engine That Could, he creates a world of toys and children that go right to the soul. Toy Boat will sail into young hearts and stay there.

Praise for TOY BOAT

* "With plenty of buoyant charm and imaginative artwork, this contemporary Little Toot has an abundance of child appeal."--Booklist, starred review

"A resonant tale with wide appeal."--Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A boy's handmade toy boat plays the metaphorical role of a child longing for independence in De Sève's auspicious first picture book. The text begins in simple language that lightly implies a parent/child bond: "The boy loved the boat, and they were never apart. They bathed together. They slept together." Every day the boy sails the boat in the lake, holding onto it with a string. Usually the boat feels content, but occasionally the sight of big boats awakens its curiosity about "what it would feel like to sail free." A sudden change in the weather occasions the toy boat's premature adventure out of the boy's protective grasp, described in suspenseful text and acrylics that imaginatively extend De Sève's story. Long (the re-illustrated Little Engine that Could) shrewdly illustrates no persons other than David, even though David's mother plays a pivotal part. Rather, the toy boat has a face (readers should look carefully at the cork holding its mast) and, as it encounters the big boats at last, each wears its own visible personality. A giant ferry occupying most of a spread bears down on the toy boat, its windows, decks and trimmings shaped into an enraged visage, complete with glaring eyes and pursed lips; the toy boat shrinks dramatically in the wake of a huge speedboat depicted as a flame-colored shark. Not until the reassuring conclusion can the toy boat again be seen from the boy's perspective. A resonant tale with wide appeal. Ages 2-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Our creative young hero has made a boat from a can, a cork, a pencil, and a piece of cloth. He and his beloved boat are inseparable. He sails it on the lake, holding on to it by a string. The boat sometimes wonders what it would be like to be free. One stormy day, the boat gets loose and encounters a series of menacing large boats, each of which seems to tell it to "Move along!" The toy boat is almost sinking, and missing the boy, drifting alone and frightened through the night. In the morning, however, circled by a small fishing boat, the little boat's sail catches the wind. To their mutual delight, boat and boy are reunited on the shore in this simple story's happy ending. Long uses acrylic paints to create uncluttered naturalistic double-page scenes. The loving relationship of boy and boat is established on the book's cover. Inside, the personified sequence of "real" boats is filled with their aggressive tendencies as they menace the toy. Emotions are stirred by scenes of the tiny boat all alone on the vast, moonlit sea, and of the happy reunion. The endpapers show the items the boy uses to build his boat, perhaps to encourage other builders. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1
A boy loves his toy boat and he takes it everywhere, keeping it close on a string near open water. When he drops the string and the toy is carried far out on the lake, it faces the perils of high waves, stormy skies, and large, mean-spirited vessels. The small boat, near sinking, sail heavy with water, misses the child terribly and floats aimlessly all night, lonely and frightened. (Even the moon is shown weeping at such a pathetic plight.) Finally the next day, "a humble little fishing boat" takes pity on the little boat since "it knew how it felt to be pushed around on the lake." It guides the toy toward shore-and for a few moments the little boat feels the joy of freedom, wind in its sail. Then the boy sees it and the boat is home again. Now, the boy occasionally lets the string go when they are by the lake since the boat knows to come back. This story of freedom and its perils has the potential to be unsettling for a young audience. The cruel eyes of the giant ferry bearing down on the small boat and the painted sharklike teeth on the side of the speedboat with its "screaming" motor can easily be construed as menacing and can send a negative instead of heartening message. Only near the end, on the spread where the little boat is sailing, does the acrylic art show the pleasure of the open sky and freedom at the prow. This book has limited child appeal.
—Susan MoorheadCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
15 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Loren Long grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. He pursued graduate-level studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago after graduating with a BA in Graphic Design/Art Studio from the University of Kentucky. After graduation Long worked as an illustrator for a greeting card company in Cincinnati before beginning his career as a freelance illustrator.

Since then, Long has received numerous accolades for his fluid WPA painting style. He has been awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York, and has been frequently selected for their annual exhibition and book. His work has also appeared in many other major annual exhibitions such as American Illustration, Communication Arts, Step By Step Graphics and Print.

Long’s clients include Time Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Boy’s Life, Land’s End, Sports Illustrated and HBO. He has also illustrated book covers for numerous publishers and has recently concentrated on illustrating books for young readers where his work has garnered much recognition and praise.

Recent awards/accolades:


The United Nations chose to hang in their lobby Long’s painting of a firefighter in action, along with 21 other selections from the Prevailing Human Spirit Show at the Society of Illustrators.


Recipient of the Golden Kite Award for picture book illustration, presented by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for I Dream of Trains. The book was also selected as one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2003.


Winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award.

Illustrates New York Times #1 best-seller, Mr. Peabody’s Apples

To learn more about Loren Long and his books, go to

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