Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TIM AND THE ICEBERG by Paul Cotes ✰✰✰

Quick Version:
On a hot day, a young boy goes on a journey to find and bring home an iceberg.
Long Version:
Tim and his grandpa are playing on the beach on a very hot summer day.  When Grandpa goes in search of lemonade, Tim decides to sail to the North Pole and bring back an iceberg.  Along the way he encounters a number of things which might be found on such a journey.  The story flows very nicely, follows the path one might expect when a boy tugs an iceberg south, and is resolved in a way sure to get a smile out of your child.
First let me say that if you are looking for a sweet story with lovely watercolor illustrations well suited to the book’s beach setting, there is much to enjoy here, and you would likely give this book four stars.  Our hang-up with the book is probably an unusual one.
One of the things that we really liked about the book was that animals were given specific names.  We also thought it a nice touch that Tim sails past an oil rig; I was surprised to discover that, despite living in Alaska, my seven year old had no idea what an ocean rig looked like!
However, there was one page glaringly missing for us-a facts page at the conclusion of the book.  Given the content of the book, we flipped the last page of the story, fully expecting it to be there, and it wasn’t!  There could have been blurbs on the animals and oil rigs, but two things in the book really opened the door for further explanation.  
First, Tim’s sail has 1621 on it.  Why?  My daughter knew that was the year of the Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving, but that didn’t fit the story.  Neither did it match any major polar expedition that we could pull up on an internet search.  We were really curious why the author chose to put that date on Tim’s sail and would have loved an explanation. 
Second, at the end of the story ***spoiler alert***Tim and his grandpa put the remains of the iceberg in their lemonade.  Most children do not know that icebergs are not salty-a paragraph as to why would have been welcome at the end of the book.
I realize that this is a story book, not a non-fiction book, but this type of book makes such a perfect spring board for a child’s natural curiosity about the world around them and can be very beneficial as a transition from fiction to non-fiction.  We were disappointed that the perfect set-up that the book provided was not capitalized upon.
Target Audience: picture book crowd-ages 3 to 8

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a cute book, and something my daughter would like :-) Thanks for the review.