It begins in childhood during a summer rain, as neighborhood friends gather to release leaves with stick passengers to drift down the gutter of a small-town street. Very early there are more adventures than can be remembered on a small aluminum boat named Rainmaker with Dad. There are hard-to-believe fishing tales and that one episode of running the boat up on the dock. Later there are quiet glides down meandering Michigan rivers in a canoe small enough for a small young woman to carry. There are Atlantic sailboat excursions with a life jacket being thrown to you as a squall hits or a softball-sized lump forming on your cheek after a sidestay keeps you from falling overboard on a rocky ocean. Finally, there is the 1957 Chris Craft Sportsman with its throaty engines and the twenty-six-foot pontoon boat for idling away sunny summer afternoons. When you live near water, boats for many are part of their years.
Regardless of the purpose they serve, there are boats for every type of person and their wants and needs. Boats Will Float (Sleeping Bear Press, March 15, 2020) written by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum with illustrations by Brett Curzon is a rhyming day trip and tribute to these water vehicles. Bright full-color artwork complements these boats in an array of settings.
Boats are bobbing in the bay,
Waiting to be on their way.
The tide is the guide as the morning begins. Fisherman and special groups celebrating sport and tradition work and practice in a shared space. Multiple boats surge toward the sea.
Recreational boaters speed along sandy shores. Sails billow in the wind, riding the ups and downs of the waves. Big boats thrive because of smaller boats' tasks.
Boats protect. Boats haul freight. Boats provide places for people to vacation or look for whales. Boats help those who seek science.
In boats sailors cruise beneath the surface. Up above sailors have their own language with alphabet signal flags. To aid them (and all who float in their boats) are beacons of light on rocky shores. As night descends and stars and a moon light the sky, we end as we started, a home on a boat with a family snuggled inside.
You find yourself humming or singing at least in your mind, if not aloud, when reading the words written by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum. Every two or four lines rhyme at the end creating a cadence similar to the movement of the boats. Frequent use of alliteration elevates the beat. The title text is woven into the narrative several times to supply continuity. Here is a passage.
Coast guard, freighter, ships that cruise,
Offer front-row ocean views,
Leaving foamy, frothy trails,
Passing pods of spouting whales.
Spirited characters (and one happy-go-lucky canine) are featured on their cheery tug racing out to sea on the front of the matching dust jacket and book case. Three other boats, a schooner, tug and freighter, are also shown. This is one of many wonderful details about the illustrations in this book. On any given page showcasing a particular boat, other boats are included. Using the lifebuoys in place of the letter "o" is an excellent design choice.
To the left, on the back, a slate blue canvas provides a background for a small rectangular picture. In this picture a group of sailors and a dog are sitting in a small boat. Three of the four people are holding signal flags spelling out one of the words in the title.
The opening and closing endpapers in pale turquoise have rows of waves in white as a pattern. This pattern of waves is broken by silhouettes of sails. On the title page a fire boat is shown beneath the title text.
Rendered by Brett Curzon these illustrations, with marvelous elements, all spanning two pages, are a gallery of boats placed in an range of circumstances with a variety of people, young and old, alike. They are realistic portraits of life with people at work and play. All the people are enjoying their time on all these boats as evidenced by their expressions and body postures.
One of my many, many favorite illustrations is at night. A star-studded sky with a crescent moon spans the top half of the image. On the left a white area, cloudlike in shape and size, establishes a space for text. To the left of this and a bit lower is a lighthouse on a rocky cliff shining its light. On the lower half is the sea awash in hues of blues. Only swirls disturb the water. On the left a numbered red buoy, lighted, guides boats. A single sailboat glides under the stars and moon on the right. An adult and child (father and son) are sailing. The child holds a lantern. This is a peaceful scene. You can almost hear the swish of the water as the boat cuts through the surface.
For an introduction to boats, how they are used and enjoyed, Boats Will Float written by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum with illustrations by Brett Curzon is a stellar selection for the information, melody of the words and the joy in the visuals. At the close of the book two pages are dedicated to giving readers more facts on sixteen types of boats along with smaller pictures of each. I highly recommend this title for your personal and professional collections.
To learn more about Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and Brett Curzon, please follow the links attached to their names to access relevant websites. Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum has accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Brett Curzon has an account on Instagram. At the publisher's website you can view multiple interior images. Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and Brett Curzon are both highlighted at Kathy Temean's Writing and Illustrating website.