Thursday, November 30, 2017

The real boat by Marina Aromshtam illustrated by Victoria Semykina

Lyrically told and with illustrations that are arresting and demand exploration for their artistry and technique, this modern fable is a thoroughly rewarding read. Red Reading Hub

Some picture books just astonish me.  I sigh with happiness at the beautiful story and exquisite illustrations we can share with our children.  Books about ocean travel, ships and under sea locations are always popular in my school which is located near a beach.

The Little Boat by Kathy Henderson has been a favourite of mine for a long time and now I have found The Real Boat and together these will make a perfect pair.

"The pond seemed very big and deep to the little boat."

But then he talks with a frog and a duck.

"Real boats sail on the ocean. I want to sail there too ..."

And so the journey begins.  The little origami boat sails along the stream and into a wider stream where he meets an old row boat. The stream joins other streams and eventually the paper boat is in a river.  There he sees a motor boat and a riverboat, a barge and a tug boat.  The tug shows him the way to the harbor where there are passenger liners, container ships and lots of seagulls.  Tall cranes are loading the shipping containers and one even contains two giraffes. He sees a car ferry and a huge passenger liner which "shone like an enchanted city."

After a long day and a long journey the little paper boat falls asleep and so he misses the departure of the ocean liner.  A fish trawler offers to show him the way to the ocean but disaster arrives in the form of a huge thunder storm.  "The paper boat was now completely filled with water, and he had started to sink."  Will the little paper boat ever be found?  Where will this journey end?

Take some time to look at the art of Victoria Semykina - it is wonderful.  She is a Russian illustrator who lives in Italy.  You can see more pages from this book and a little film here.

The Real Boat was originally written in Russian.  It always makes me happy when I see books from around the world making the journey into English and then arriving here in Australia.  This is a longer format picture book which you should explore slowly.  This book would make a beautiful gift for a young boat enthusiast and together you might be inspired to make a sail your own little origami boats.

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