A Boy and a Bear in a BoatFeatured
Will the Harriet, their trusted vessel, withstand the violent lashings of the salty waves? And will anyone ever answer their message in a bottle?
To be fair, I liked the book. I appreciate when authors don't tie themselves in knots justifying the odd truths of their fictional worlds. We don't know why a bear is captaining a boat, or why a boy is getting on board, or where he hopes to get to -- these things just are. We don't need to know why.
Yet in the end, the lack of reasons -- of goals -- means that the book loses momentum. The journey becomes too interior, a journey of acceptance and personal development. Such a journey is important, but perhaps not so much to the 10-year-old who still hopes personal development means she will in fact become a pirate king or an Arctic explorer. Teenagers begin to understand that most of their adventures will be inside themselves, and grown-ups too, if we do not forget, know that our inner landscapes are where we will do most of our exploring.
I enjoyed the whimsy of the sandwiches, the mercurial personality of the bear and the growing contentment both characters felt with the fact that their journey would have no end, that the journey was the destination. It's also worth repeating that A BOY AND A BEAR IN A BOAT frequently made me think of A Little Prince, which is high praise indeed.
It just doesn't mean I would suggest it to a child.