The Antlered Ship (Dashka Slater)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Antlered Ship, written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by The Fan Brothers, a beautiful tale of curiosity, friendship, and finding where you belong.

Marco the fox is filled with big questions, like “why do some songs make you happy and others make you sad?” and “how deep does the sun go when it sinks into he ocean at night?” His fellow foxes have little interest in his questions, content to their workaday lives. So when Marco sees the antlered ship dock in the harbor, and the captain offers work as a crewman, Marco accepts. Along with the captain (a deer named Sylvia), her two buck crewman, and Marco, a pigeon named Victor and his flock also accept the work, hoping to find adventure. But once the new crew disembarks, they find that sailing a ship is difficult work. Finding what they are each talented at, the crew eventually bands together and becomes a great team, each discovering what they initially sought – except for Marco. He still has more questions… but perhaps he has found the answer to one of them without even realizing.

Just lovely. This is one part a story of finding friendship, one part a story of finding oneself, one part adventure tale, and one part meditation on the unknown, all wrapped up in a bundle of gorgeously detailed and stunningly imaginative art. The text is clever, sometimes wry and often profound, weaving a story that sweeps the reader along through the highs and lows of the animals’ voyage. The art is beautiful, evoking a quiet sense of wonder and wanderlust with each page. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A fantastic tale of exploring the unknown, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Friend Ship (Kat Yeh)

Hello, friends! Today, we read The Friend Ship, written by Kat Yeh and illustrated by Chuck Groenink, a wonderful tale about how the best friendships are often found in the very place you don’t think to look.

Hedgehog is curled into a spiny ball in a lonely hollow under a lonely tree. No longer wanting to be alone, he decides to set out in search of The Friend Ship, a vessel that sails the high seas carrying friends for everyone. As he prepares to leave in his little boat, Beaver asks if he might come along; he could use a friend too. The same for a group of deer they happen upon, and a little lonely mouse. Each time their boat stops to ask for directions, they seem to pick up a new creature in need of company. And as they sail the high seas together, telling stories and singing songs, Hedgehog begins to wonder if they’ll ever find The Friend Ship… or has he been on it all along?

What a fantastic story! The message, that the best way to find a friend is to be a good friend to others, is classic and timeless, yet the heartwarming twist of the lonesome animals finding friendships simply by opening their hearts to others who wish to do the same is fabulously sweet. The illustrations of the animals are cute and lively, and the text is a good length and fun to read. Still, the story is what shines here: a classic tale of hope, kindness, and camaraderie. JJ loved this one, and I did too! We highly recommend it, and it’s definitely Baby Bookworm approved.