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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Old MacDonald Had a Boat, written by Steve Goetz and illustrated by Eda Kaban. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2018. $22.99 ages 5 and up

"Old MacDonald had a farm

E - I -E - I - O.

And on that farm
he had a  ...

W H O A!"

It's amazing what you can get done if you have the will to make things happen. If you read Old MacDonald Had A Truck (2016), you will know that you have come to the right farmers to see what hard work can accomplish. This Old MacDonald and his very skilled wife have many skills that none of us could know about if we first met Old MacDonald in the children's song. There, we met his animals and learned little about the man himself, or his family.

If this is your second meeting with this particular Old MacDonald, you will know all the many construction machines the farm animals and Mrs. MacDonald used to create a souped-up version of their tired, dilapidated truck, while Old MacDonald was producing a terrific track and grandstand for a speed race audience.

Now, they are using that terrific truck to bring in an old fishing boat. With the help of the farm animals, saws, hammers, a torch, a sander and paint they fashion a  'Finntastic' power boat that can tow anyone who happens to love water sports!

It's a spirited new adventure for the farm inhabitants, and full of boisterous entertainment for young readers. The quiet of the early morning gives way to much work. That work pays off when, at the end of the day, all benefit from the transformation and can end their day happily enjoying the many pleasures of being on the water. Finally, the cool evening breezes and waning daylight allow a quiet opportunity to reflect on the day's events.

Each of the spreads provide energy and images for exploration. The onomatopoeic language, the expressions on the animals' faces, and the leadership offered by the farmers themselves add interest and context for all that is happening here.

We will look forward to your next adventure, Old MacDonald!

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