Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Antlered Ship

The Antlered Ship

Dashka Slater
Illustrator:  Terry and Eric Fan 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Simon and Schuster, 2017   ISBN: 978-1481451604

Marco lives in the Land of the Foxes, and his brain teems with questions about the world. When he asks the other foxes his questions they don’t know what to think of Marco. All they care about is their stew. What do Marco’s questions have to do with that?

Marco decides to head for the harbor to greet the antlered ship that has just arrived. Three deer disembark and they freely admit that they need some help. It turns out that they are not “very good sailors.”

Hoping to find the answers to his questions, Marco volunteers to join the deers’ crew. A flock of pigeons would also like to join as they want to have some adventures. The Captain, Sylvia, explains that they are headed for a wonderful island.

The antlered ship sets sail and it is not long before they encounter a storm. Everybody on board is miserable and unhappy about the conditions. The deer begin to think that they should have stayed in the woods, and the pigeons decide that they should have stayed in the park. Marco comments on how foxes are not meant to be vegetarians, and yet he still thinks that they should all do “the best we can.”

That evening he cooks everyone a warming stew, and then they all consult the charts to figure out how to get Sweet Tree Island, which is their destination. Finally, the storm dissipates and they are able to raise the sails under a beautiful full moon.

In the morning they come to the Maze of Sharp Rocks. They could easily get wrecked on the rocky shoal, but the pigeons fly ahead and find a clear path for the ship to follow. The travelers are getting close to Sweet Tree Island when they are waylaid by a pirate ship. Adventures seem to be waiting for them around every corner.

Young readers are going to love this delightful and richly illustrated picture storybook. They will appreciate the fact that adventures sometimes have uncomfortable and even frightening moments, but that does not mean that one shouldn’t take them in the first place.