My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Gubby Builds A Boat by author Gary Kent, illustrated by artist Kim La Fave is a beautifully produced hardcover, over-sized graphic novella which may appeal more to adults, especially young and old East and West Coast folk with commercial fishing in their family history.
Gubby is the Grandpa, an old salt fans may remember from the surprise (to some) best-seller and instant coastal classic, Gubby Catches a Fish. In this book, he realizes his old gillnetter, wonderfully named Flounder has come to the end of her many decades of fishing on the British Columbia coast. So, with grandson in tow, he heads off to Steveston, a once-thriving boat-building and commercial fishing community. There he tracks down one remaining wooden boat builder,his old friend Minoru. Gubby and Minoru proceed to build the Flounder Too in the traditional Japanese pattern, pushing to meet a March deadline.
All the accurately portrayed details of choosing the materials and building the boat, the insertion of visual gags involving a cat and a dog, among others, showing the passage of time by adding the kid-friendly depiction of Halloween in a coastal village, followed by a classic and wonderful Christmas, complete with elves and gifts for an orphanage,and the final launch party all combine to give us a fine tribute to the labour and finesse of boat-building. And as with good wooden boats, there is heart and soul embedded in every line on every page, soaked in a subtle coastal palette of greys and greens, save for Gubby's red shirt. A nautical treasure of a book, one to keep and to reread.
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