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Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories, by Sergio Ruzzier. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2019. $20.99 ages 4 and up

I'm going for a quiet boat ride.

I guess it doesn't have to be quiet.

Can I be the captain? 
We don't need a captain, Chick.

Captain Chick! That sounds good.
What does a captain do, Fox?"

Oh, I am very pleased to see Fox and Chick again. I loved their first book, The Party: And Other Stories (2018), as did everyone who read or heard it. They are a pair; their adventures are quite delightful despite the fact they are polar opposite personalities.

The three short stories in this new book are adventurous, and will be appreciated by fans of the first one and all emergent readers. Told completely in speech bubble dialogue between the two, their stories are told with warmth and humor as they seek common ground.

Fox is wanting a calm and peaceful boat ride. Chick is seeking companionship, and fills the quiet of the pond with constant conversation, observation, and questions.Chick needs reassurance that sea monsters don't like ponds, pirates would find nothing to take if they came aboard the boat, and being shipwrecked is not a possibility when the pond's shore is so close.

Fox makes an observation about his plan:

"A quiet boat ride
was my plan."

Chick feels the need to set Fox straight about what has transpired:

"Are you kidding me?
Sea monsters! Pirates!

The imagination can conjure up many fearful, things!

The second tale concerns a gift box filled with chocolate cake, and is equally charming. Finally, in a story about Fox wanting to see the sunrise, that plan is foiled by patience as Fox waits - and waits - and waits for Chick to get ready to go, too. The end result is full of meaning for both.

Fox remains unflappable, while Chick is totally flappable. But, in the end, their friendship is what will resonate with young readers.

I have great admiration for Sergio Ruzzier's storytelling, his playful, inviting art, and his tales of true friendship. BRAVO!

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