BOOK­SHELF

Big Red Ship

Passage Maker - - @rest - BY JONATHAN COOPER

Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Jonathan Cooper found a chil­dren’s book about light­ships to com­ple­ment his story on page 56. This tales fea­tures beau­ti­ful paint­ings and a sim­ple story that should ap­peal to read­ers, young and old.

Au­thor of sev­eral chil­dren’s books, Brian Floca has a knack for celebrating his sub­jects by dis­till­ing their virtues down to the bare essen­tials. What­ever is cool about steam trains, rock­et­ing to the moon, or work­ing aboard a light­ship at sea, Floca pin­points and il­lus­trates beau­ti­fully. And like any book geared to­ward kids, the au­thor fol­lows the model of the best Pixar an­i­ma­tions by cre­at­ing a story that is equally ac­ces­si­ble to the par­ents (or grand­par­ents), who have to en­dure the same words and out­come af­ter a hun­dred read­ings.

In Light­ship, Floca paints a pre­cise pic­ture of the story of Ambrose, the true-enough tale of the Coast Guard-op­er­ated light­ship (LV-87) that was sta­tioned in Ambrose Chan­nel, New York har­bor’s main ship­ping choke point. While the words he writes are min­i­mal, they are lyri­cal and con­vey a po­etry of mo­tion, be­tween the rock­ing of the ship and the clock­work rou­tine of the crew­men work­ing aboard. Floca’s easy verse, though, is only part of the story, as his true acu­men lies in his skill with the brush. On each page he treats his bright red sub­ject in a va­ri­ety of sea con­di­tions and per­spec­tives, both in­side and out, from Ambrose rock­ing in the swells to her horn blast­ing to as­sist help­less ships in the fog. He paints all of his scenes with the care dis­played by some­one with true af­fec­tion for his sub­ject, and the car­toon style should ap­peal to young and old.

Si­mon and Schus­ter, si­mo­nand­schus­ter.com and also avail­able for $10.99 from iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play Books.

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