Book: Everything Goes: By Sea
Author/Illustrator: Brian Biggs
Age Range: 4-8
Everything Goes: By Sea is the latest picture book in this very fun series by Brian Biggs (following Everything Goes: By Land and Everything Goes: In the Air plus various board books and early readers). As in the previous two books, Everything Goes: By Sea follows a young boy and his parents as they head out on a trip. In this instance, the family is taking their distinctive purple car aboard a ferry, to travel to an island for summer vacation. Along the way, the boy asks lots of questions, and learns from his parents about various types of boats, what makes boats float, etc. Considerable information is conveyed about boats and other water conveyances, but Biggs maintains a light, humorous touch.
For my four-year-old daughter, as for myself, it's the humor that makes these books work. This humor is conveyed mainly through Bigg's colorful, detailed illustrations, as well as comic-like text bubbles, which generally reward close study. For example, as the family sets off on a ferry, a woman asks the man beside her: "How long do you think the trip will take?". The man replies: "About fifty-six pages." OK, this one is more for the parents than for the kids.
When I asked my daughter what we should highlight as funny in the book, she immediately turned to a page showing a variety of quirky houseboats (including "country cabin boat" and "home sweet home boat"). One of the boats is populated by a frazzled mom and her escaping toddler quintuplets. These Houdini-like tots were also featured in Everything Goes: In the Air, and my daughter ADORES them. The mother is saying "Oh no, not again!", and I like how the author includes this nod to readers of the previous book. I also found the "outhouse boat" pretty funny, though my daughter didn't get that one at all.
There's a seek-and-find aspect to Everything Goes: By Sea. This is not overt - there's no list of things to look for, but these detailed, annotated pages are perfect for poring over. This is not one of my favorite bedtime books, as it takes us forever to get through it. I think that the idea target audience would be kids who can read it for themselves, and take as much time as they like picking up on all the informative and humorous details.
I hope that there will be other titles in this Everything Goes series. They are surefire hits in my house, and an excellent choice for libraries.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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