Lily Leads the Way

Lily Leads the Way
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
May 17, 2022
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A little sailboat has a big burst of determination when a fleet of tall ships needs assistance.

Lily the sailboat is small but sturdy, in a harbor full of enormous cargo ships, speedy fishing vessels, and bossy tugboats that all have somewhere to go. And something to say—mostly, “Out of my way, Lily!” But Lily has somewhere to go, too. Out on the lake, the tall ships are coming! To pass from the harbor to the lake, Lily must blow her horn and ask the lift bridge to rise—“Meee-me?”—but the big vessels’ blasts are so much louder as they crowd her out and rock her with waves. Finally, Lily slips under just before the bridge goes down, her sails fluttering with excitement as she spies the majestic barquentine, schooner, and other grand old ships heading toward the now-lowered bridge. Silently! How will the bridge know to rise? Can Lily save the day? This tale of plucky persistence, illustrated with the splash and sparkle of a summer day on the water, is sure to empower any child to take charge when the time is right. A note from the author, a Newbery Honoree, offers more facts about bridges and boats for curious readers.

Editor review

1 review
adorable picture book about finding your way
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
LILY LEADS THE WAY is a cute picture book about a small boat. Lily is excited to meet the tall ships on the lake, but to get there, she'll need to get under the bridge. As she tries to make her way, large ships push her out. She manages to slip through and just in time - the tall ships are here! She then leads the way back through under the bridge.

What I loved: This is a sweet story about exciting, finding your place, and patience. Lily's struggles to get under the bridge will resonate with young readers who know the feeling of being too little. As she makes it through and then leads the way, young children will celebrate with her. The illustrations are lush and capture Lily, her emotions, and the sea so well.

The font is large and easy to read throughout, great for reading aloud, with the length working well for preschool and elementary school aged readers. The author's note at the end talks about bridges and the ways boats used to communicate, which adds a nice educational touch to the story.

Final verdict: An adorable story of finding your way and overcoming the odds, LILY LEADS THE WAY is a charming picture book with lush illustrations and an educational touch.
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