On a summer day, a boy waits for high tide. He’d love to swim but he’d just get muddy or even stuck. The other animals on the seashore are waiting for high tide too, six long hours. But today is a special day, the boy and his family are going to build a raft. They found a big log and have cut it into three sections. The boy plays on the shore, finding treasures along the way including a pair of pink glasses with one eye covered in barnacles. They work hard on the raft as the water comes in closer and closer. When they stop for lunch, the boy sees birds eating too. The raft is finally ready but there is still time before high tide, so they eat cookies and wait. Finally the raft floats and there is time for jumping, swimming and enjoying the perfect summer day.
McClure proves here that she is as much a writer and poet as an artist. She writes with a depth that is lovely to see in a picture book, offering real insight into the natural world. She also writes with a childlike eye and attitude, drawing parallels between the human world and the natural one. There is an engaging mix of fonts in the text, some of the text large and capitalized in a way that conveys excitement and time passing. The passage of time is such a focus here as the tide slowly comes in. It is a book that celebrates slower times, lingering before enjoying the reward of your hard work.
As always McClure’s art is exceptional. Her cut paperwork is filled with details. The scene of the boy in the barnacle glasses as he explores the shoreline is filled with such tiny details that one can look for some time before you see the chipmunk peeking over the log or the five dollar bill. This is a book for spending some slow time of your own on.
Based on McClure’s own family, this picture book is a quiet look at nature and spending time outside. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.