Tuesday, July 03, 2018

How It Feels To Be A Boat

How It Feels To Be A Boat. James Kwan. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Ahoy, ahoy! Raise your crooked anchor and head out to sea, as your foghorn howls and barnacles tickle your bottom.

Premise/plot: What does it feel like to be a boat? Well, Kwan's imagination has led him to explore just that in his new picture book.
In your belly everyone gets along, but sometimes they fight. When they yell your belly aches, your heart shrinks, and your rooms shiver. You are strong, but sometimes you tremble. 
From inside your belly you smell a delicious thing and hear your favorite doot-doot tune and feel everyone singing and moving together: lee lee lee doo.
My thoughts: My first thought upon reading this one is why does this book exist?! My second thought was who is the intended audience?! Fair or not fair those were my initial impressions.

Is this a story picture book for young children encouraging active--or over-active imaginations? Perhaps. Is this a picture book for young adults soon to graduate and enter 'the real world'?

It didn't work for me personally as either. Either as an imaginative storybook or as an allegory or metaphor for life it was just unsettling. Are the different "rooms" in the boat and the different characters who live on the boat representative of desires, needs, wants, opportunities? Do they represent multiple personalities? Because most of the challenging aspects of being a boat come from within the boat itself--not the stormy seas, not the obstacles at sea or near shore.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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