Review of I Ship: A Container Ship’s Colossal Journey

I Ship: A Container Ship’s Colossal Journey I Ship: A Container Ship’s Colossal Journey
by Kelly Rice Schmitt; illus. by Jam Dong
Preschool, Primary    Millbrook/Lerner    40 pp.
10/23    9781728476827    $19.99

Readers follow every step of the (fictional) container ship Carolina, which is carrying freight from a port in Asia to delivery in the Netherlands. Carolina acts as narrator, initially providing details about the process of docking and loading, while informative cutaway illustrations display the diverse cargo. Dong’s clear, flat, geometrical digital illustrations also illuminate size. The massive ship dwarfs a pair of large baleen whales swimming by; readers turn the page and see the ship alone on the ocean—“a drop of color / on a canvas of blue.” As the ship rounds the coast of India, personification becomes more pronounced as once “lonely” vessels assemble in the Suez Canal. But the canal is blocked, and Carolina must divert its path, weathering a fierce storm off the Cape of Good Hope before continuing north through the Atlantic. Arriving in Amsterdam, the unloading begins: “Trade is flowing, the world keeps going. But oceans away, new ports await.” An outline map clearly shows Carolina’s route, and readers can return to it noting specific points of the journey, such as where the ship meets rough weather. A wealth of back matter, most aimed at an older audience, includes notes about trade and containerization; a glossary; potential related jobs; various additional facts; and internet resources, including an activity guide on buoyancy. An audience-appropriate seek-and-find activity completes the book.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.