A boy and a bear in a boat - Shelton, Dave
Summary: A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele, for a short trip but soon their boat encounters "unforeseeable anomalies," strange storms, a terrifying sea monster, and the rank remains of The Very Last Sandwich.
*Starred Review* In this illustrated novel from England, a boy steps aboard a small rowboat equipped with a bear for a captain. The boy merely needs a ride to the other side of the sea, but due to a few "unforeseeable anomalies," he soon fears they may be lost. Even a limited game of I Spy fails to break up the monotony. Exasperated by the bear's seemingly bumbling leadership, the boy accuses him of stranding them in the middle of nowhere. Pointing to an entirely blue map, the bear counters, "We passed through the middle of nowhere about noon yesterday. So you see it's not so bad." When adventures with storms and a ravenous sea monster eventually ensue, the pair makes the best use of their meager supplies—a suitcase, a comic book, a ukulele, and a "Very Last Sandwich." Just as the bear thinks he may have failed as captain, the boy steps in to reassure him of his skills. It's Shelton's spare, wry storytelling that makes this book set sail. The duo's give-and-take relationship, aptly depicted in the expressive black-and-white illustrations, becomes the real focus of this existential story. An open ending emphasizes the adage that life is a journey rather than a destination. Deceptively brilliant. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.