Little Scoot

Boyds Mills. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781635923001.
K-Gr 2–This allegorical story of a small tugboat braving scary, stormy seas on its journey to rescue a trapped ship is not the 1939 adventures of Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky. Instead of a stuck ocean liner, it’s a big barge that is stuck and which Little Scoot (not Little Toot) aids and then tugs to safety. In this short, unembellished tale of conquering one’s fear, Dotlich’s comfortable rhyme schemes are creative though repetitive, with a predictable yet satisfying ending that may facilitate general discussions with young elementary readers about overcoming worries. The spatial placement of the text mimics wave-like motions, but the very segmentation of the lines will confound emerging readers of an age to appreciate Little Scoot’s simple victory. At times, the textual features change size and style to further emphasize the story’s tone, but a young audience just learning left-to-right progression may have difficulty reading through the design scheme. A primary color scheme dominates each spread, with masses of periwinkle blue growing darker as the tugboat traverses into the turbulent waves.
VERDICT The bold geometric design of the storm waves and determined tugboat will delight, although readability may be an issue for newer readers. Purchase for collections not already owning Gramatky’s tale in its dozens of formats.

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