Ferry Boat

Holiday House. Jan. 2021. 32p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823447701.
PreS-Gr 1–Garland’s tribute to the Staten Island Ferry carries a guided reading label that tells readers to expect text scaffolding for a beginner and a straightforward storyline. Using chronological sequence, repeated exposure to directional phrases, high frequency words, and simple vocabulary, Garland takes us from the Ferry Terminal in Manhattan across the water to Staten Island, pointing out the sights along the way. The illustrations rhythmically alternate between the perspectives of a passenger and an omniscient narrator. The digital woodcuts, closely emulating the traditional form, are especially arresting when depicting the ferry and New York landmarks from a distance. Pages that illustrate the crowds and the ferry’s great size are an education for readers who have not had much experience with either boats or big cities. A glossary at the end matches an illustration to the definition, which may make it easier or more likely for beginning readers to use the resource.
VERDICT Limited by the narrative constraints of the genre, the title offers a cursory tour of a storied New York experience, accompanied by a particularly captivating set of illustrations.

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