Review of The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories [Fox + Chick]
by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    56 pp.
3/19    978-1-4521-5289-9    $14.99

Ruzzier presents three more brief adventures, in hybrid picture-book/early-chapter-book/comic form, about friends Fox and Chick (The Party and Other Stories, rev. 3/18). The first chapter begins with Fox attempting to embark, solo, on a “quiet boat ride.” When Chick asks to join, Fox agrees — “I guess it doesn’t have to be quiet” — and indeed Chick’s speech-bubble patter hardly lets up. “Chocolate Cake” finds Chick at home (in a birdhouse, natch), stressing over a wrapped box that someone delivered. Chick’s conundrum is philosophical — what if there’s chocolate cake inside? What if there isn’t chocolate cake inside? Fox helps Chick see the bigger picture. In the final story, Fox is eager to watch the sunrise, but Chick’s foot-dragging leads to disappointment, temporarily. Ruzzier’s pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, in pastel hues, are easy to follow from panel to panel and spread to spread, with tantalizingly off-kilter details (why does Chick’s house lean so precipitously? and is that an outhouse beside it?) and fanciful supporting characters (those funny-looking sea monsters and butterfly-ish creatures). The protagonists seem to have mellowed somewhat from the previous book, with fewer examples of sniping and more of sharing.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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