Faraway Things

Little, Brown. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316492195.
Gr 3-5–Lucian loves searching for faraway things—items with no obvious owner—that have drifted ashore near his home. One day, after a great storm has raged through the night, Lucian happens upon a cutlass, and it is unlike anything he has found before. He carefully secures it to the wall of his bedroom, inspiring a series of dreams about his late father. After the fog clears, Lucian notices a large ship in the bay, stuck in a sandbar because there was no lighthouse to guide its passage. The ship’s captain comes ashore and, because the cutlass is rightfully his, allows Lucian to choose another of the captain’s treasures in exchange for the sword. Lyrical, descriptive language allows Lucian’s story to gently unfold. The writing invites readers into a narrative that is deeper than it first appears; longer sentences and more nuanced storytelling make this title best suited to older elementary readers. This story is enjoyable to read aloud, though the illustrations deserve equal attention. Watercolor and ink bring Lucian’s world to life in hues of primarily blue, gray, and brown, encapsulating the feel of a seaside home. Rich landscapes couple with minute detail, resulting in captivating and compelling visuals. Lucian and his mother are white, as are most of the ship’s crew; however, the captain and a few of the other crew members have darker skin.
VERDICT A beautiful story about adventure and honoring a father’s memory, this is a noteworthy addition to elementary school libraries.

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