Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Boats for papaBoats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley. Roaring Brook Press, 2015. 40 pages.

Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8

Recommended For: Ages 4-8

Buckley, a young beaver, lives with his mother by the sea. While he loves everything about the sea, his favorite thing to do is to make boats: “big boats, small boats, long boats, short boats, boats with real sails, ropes, and even tiny anchors.” Inspired by thoughts of his absent sea-faring father, Buckley faithfully sends each boat out to sea with a note for his papa. If they don’t return? Buckley knows they’ve reached his papa.

But one day, Buckley finds one of his notes in a surprising place. His actions in light of that new knowledge will bring tears to a momma’s eyes, and young children will learn much about loving in the midst of grieving.

Bittersweet, this is a picture book to read together, gently and tenderly. Spare text combines well with delicate watercolor illustrations. This is a book to and for children who are struggling with the absence of a father, but families everywhere will resonate with Buckley’s love for both his parents, his forgiveness of one, and the picture of grace and love portrayed.

Cautions: none

Overall Rating: 4.5

  • Artistic Rating: 4.5
  • Worldview Rating: 4.5

cover image from amazon

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Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

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