Who’s the Captain? is a 56-page picture book of sailing life according to Dad and his crew. The humor in the text is accentuated by clever, colorful cartoons. Older kids who are familiar with the ins and outs of sailing will appreciate the humor and little ones will love the cartoon characters.
Dad (who thinks he’s captain) has his hands full trying to keep his rambunctious crew shipshape. The clan includes the mom (My Boat, My Rules), two brothers (Captain Awesome and Yo Ho Ho) and little Lucy (Captain Adorable). The family is rounded out by Lucy’s stuffed dolphin, Dolfie, my favorite character.
Dolfie is a stitch. So is Lucy. When Lucy spots real dolphins splashing in the bow wake: “Look Dolfie! Cousins!” Lucy uses the VHF to issue a May Day call that her brothers are stinky meanies. She pops up with a GPS when Dad (who thinks he’s captain) is bogged down with navigational charts. Lucy also points out that Dolfie never gets seasick and that he likes seacocks for lunch.
There is another creature aboard, an unnamed bird who shows up frequently. The bird pipes in with comments about the leaky dinghy: “I wouldn’t lay an egg in this tub!” and “Whew!” when he gets a whiff of Dad’s feet. Little ones will have fun searching for the bird in each cartoon.
Nautical terms are highlighted in yellow throughout the book to guide readers to the glossary in the back of the book. The author’s humor carries over into the glossary where she makes it clear that a boom is not a loud noise and a buoy is not a male human.
All in all, this is an appealing book that helps me to remember the five years I spent sailing around the Bahamas and all the cruising kids I met. They would have loved this book! Hopefully the young readers of Who’s the Captain? will be out there sailing themselves one day!
Who’s the Captain? by Mary Laudien, Illustrations by Dave Alvoine (Createspace, 2016; 56 pages)