I Ship: A Container Ship’s Colossal Journey

Millbrook. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728476827.
K-Gr 3–In her debut picture book, Schmitt takes on the question that both the young and old ask at the sight of these vessels: “What is in those containers?” The container ship is the first-person narrator, though it is not anthropomorphized in Dong’s blocky, strong shapes and colorful compositions. “My cargo is checked, packed, and stacked, then rolled to the shipyard to meet me.” There are so many good phrases here, completely age-appropriate: “Sun on my deck,/ birds at my stern,/ I slice through salty seas.” The line about being a “floating treasure trove” shows a brilliant cutaway of all the goods packed into each container in a streamlined, pop-art style. The ship expresses that it is a “titan of the sea,” but also “I’m tiny” against the huge ocean surrounding it. Sunny skies? Not at all. There are shipping delays, narrows, and a big storm, but “No damage!” All is well. This is bliss for any child who loves boats, for units on global transportation, or for anyone who has ever asked how this all works.
VERDICT Blue skies or not, the container ship prevails in this sea-worthy great-grandchild of Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

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