Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

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August 18, 2015
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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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