The Children’s Book Review | February 17, 2018
The Antlered Ship
Written by Dashka Slater
Illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Age Range: 3-7
Hardback: 48 pages
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, Simon and Schuster
What to expect: Adventure, talking animals, friendship
Marco the fox catches sight of the marvelous antlered ship coming to shore, and it ignites a boatload of questions in his furry mind.
“Why don’t trees ever talk? How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?”
These questions lead Marco on an incredibly daring, captivating journey. The antlered ship needs a crew, and Marco needs to see the world and find just the right fox to answer his questions. Along with pigeons and deer, Marco braves stormy seas and a fight with a particularly toothsome pirate ship. Along with his shipmates, Marco learns how to sail and how to explore the world. They finally come to their destination: Sweet Tree Island. But there are no foxes there to answer Marco’s philosophical questions either. Finally, he realizes he’s had it all wrong. Friends aren’t those necessarily like you, friends are those who you spend time with, adventure with, and eat with. But most of all, “you make friends by asking them questions.” Armed with the newfound friendship of his crew, Marco sets sail to explore still more adventures and uncover the mysteries of the world.
Dashka Slater’s story is a Narnia-esque masterpiece for children. What an excellent introduction for little readers to the worlds of fantasy and adventure. Children are surprisingly drawn to Marco’s philosophical musings, all written with a deft touch. Slater’s story asks readers to come along on an adventure and ponder the meaning of friendship in such a way that even the youngest readers will be entranced. Terry Fan and Eric Fan are incredibly gifted illustrators, creating luscious imagery in pencil and pen. The antlered ship comes majestically to life, and each furry or feathered creature is a study in characterization. Muted, soft hues and strong imagery create a dreamy world where readers can easily lose themselves in whimsy.
About The Author
Dashka Slater’s four picture books have won widespread praise for their inventive language and vivid imagery. Baby Shoes was named one of the best children’s books of 2006 by both Booklist and Nick Jr. magazines and was chosen for the Texas 2×2 list of best books for children age two to grade two. The Sea Serpent and Me was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a finalist for the Cybil and Chickadee Awards, as well as being named to the 2008 Librarians’ Choices List of the best books for children and young adults. Dangerously Ever After was named the 2013–14 Surrey Picture Book of the Year based on the votes of over 12,700 elementary school students. A recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Slater is also an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, Salon, The New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones. She is also the author of a novel for adults, The Wishing Box, which the Los Angeles Times named to its list of the year’s best fiction in 2000.
The Antlered Ship, by Dashka Slater and illustrated by the Fan Brothers, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like The Antlered Ship by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Adventure, Animals, Boats, Dashka Slater, Friendship, Ships, and Picture Book.
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