Tugboat - A Day in the Harbor
Authored by Erol Brightspring, Tim Brightspring
Illustrated by John Malcolm Brown
Available on Createspace
Children’s Book About a Tugboat - 34 Pages, Color
(Createspace lists the book as 48 pages, but some of those pages are credits, ISBN pages, title pages, etc. If you count the body of the book, it’s 34 pages of text & illustrations - but the authors and illustrator do lay that out at the beginning).
The book is about three kids who spend the day aboard a harbor tug named Pegasus. They meet Captain Smith and other important people on board. The captain operates the tugboat from the pilothouse. Ed is the engineer who takes care of the 12-cylinder diesel. Tim and John are deckhands who handle all the lines. Maria is the hardworking cook who everyone loves.
The kids learn about the different parts of a tugboat. They observe the captain using a chart to navigate a narrow, winding river. They go below and see a diesel engine, learning how hot and noisy it can be in machinery spaces. Captain Smith gives them a tour of the pilothouse. They learn how tugs handle ships much larger than themselves.
In this busy day on the water, Pegasus helps dock a container ship. It responds to an oil spill from a sinking tanker. It pushes a barge up a long and winding river. Finally, Pegasus helps a cruise ship start its voyage to warmer waters. Realistically, the tug does an awful lot in just one day, and that probably wouldn’t be the case in real life. Also, a tug that lays out oil spill booms probably isn’t going to be doing ship-escort work unless it has azimuthing drives. But for younger readers, it’s probably more engaging to ignore those realities and see a commercial vessel do lots of different things. That makes for a more interesting read.
After reading it, one notices it isn’t something for a two or three-year old, as in, “Look at the boat go. The boat goes fast.” It’s written and illustrated on a level that could be satisfying for older kids who enjoy books that aren’t just a couple of words on each page. Although the writing style is easy to follow without requiring a kid to have a nautical background (which is probably why it looks like technically accurate maritime terms were avoided in some parts), it definitely isn’t a “My First Book” sort of book.