(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay: A Children’s Picture Book

Akashic. Mar. 2021. 24p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781617758508.
PreS-Gr 1–Continuing this year’s trend of books based on song lyrics, O’Connor playfully depicts the story of a cat who goes in search of a meal to eat and finds not only a fish but a friend too. Vibrant scenes detail the journey of the hungry cat from Georgia to San Francisco. As the cat fishes in the sea, he is surrounded by fish but does not catch one. The despair grows—do you remember these lyrics?—and while thinking things will change, the cat is discouraged to find that things “remain the same” until they don’t. A kind girl with deep brown skin and natural hair in two puffs offers the hungry cat a fish and companionship and the book concludes with them fishing together. Information about Redding and Cropper is included in the back matter, and can be shared with readers for context. This amiable story can be taken at face value about the power of kindness, or can offer children an introduction to music as well as songwriting.
VERDICT A great summer-day song with such cheerful art makes it easy to recommend this for most children’s collections.

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