Friday, January 24, 2020

THE MAGIC BOAT: A lovely story about imagination and friendship by Kit Pearson, Katherine Farris & Gabrielle Grimard

Reading this book made me long for the beach! This book has been nominated for the Blue Spruce Award in the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading program in 2020. I read a hard copy from my local library.

Summary from the publisher:

Every summer morning, Ellie and her Nonna go to the beach. They swim and build sandcastles, and while Nonna reads, Ellie watches the other children play. One day Ellie builds up the courage to approach an older girl playing on her own in a beached rowboat. Piper has a gift, an imagination so great that she whisks Ellie off on grand adventures, going high in the air, deep below the ocean and everywhere in between in their little blue boat, their magic boat. When Piper has to leave, Ellie discovers she has her own vivid imagination.

The Magic Boat, written by Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, was published in 2019 by Orca Book Publishers. 

Every summer morning, Ellie and Nonna went to the beach.

Ellie built castles and decorated them with pebbles.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

What a lovely example of a "quiet" book! This book transported me to the beach with vivid details. The story wonderfully captures the transient connection between two children at the beach—and how different imaginations can lead to different play experiences. The soft pencil and watercolour illustrations are perfect for this sweet story.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

There are many possibilities for discussion with this story. It would be a good one to read before encouraging children to draw and write about their own experiences in writing workshop, for instance, meeting a new friend, going on a vacation, or doing something with a grandparent.   

Ages: 4-8

Grades: K – 2

Themes: friendship, imagination, beach vacations


Discuss: Was the boat magic? Why or why not?

Find and List: Look and listen for all the different birds and animals in the story. Make a list and count how many different animals there were.

Imagine and Write: Provide a “magic boat” (e.g., big box, large plastic tub, large mat) to sit in. As children sit in the “magic boat,” encourage them to imagine a story. On a clipboard, they can draw and write about what they imagine as they spend time in the “magic boat.”

STEM Challenge: Provide boxes, wood, bubble wrap, etc. Prompt: Create your own “magic” boat. Will it float?


  1. I remember spending time at the beach with sister when I was little. One small bucket and a handful of smooth pebbles and shells was all we needed to have a perfect day. I've already placed this book on hold at my library and can't wait to enjoy this story about friendship and imagination. Thank you for sharing it today.

  2. Makes me want to climb in and journey with these two girls.

  3. I love the beach and this sounds like a delightful book. I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for featuring it.

  4. I gravitate towards the quiet books! Putting this on my TBR list.

  5. I love the girls making up adventures in an old boat on the beach -- just like many of us did with logs as airplaines or boxes as forts. Will have to get a copy of this sweet book. Love the illustrations!

  6. This sounds like a wonderful book to spark a little beach magic of your own! And I think there is always a place for quiet books. Thanks for the rec!


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