My Little Boat: A Literary Critique
One day while perusing the baby book section of Barnes & Noble, I came across My Little Boat, a bathtub book featuring Curious George himself. I was drawn to it because Isla had shown an interest in some of the monkey sounds George would spontaneously produce on his hit television show, Curious George, an animated series that follows the mischievous adventures of a monkey. “Sure, ok,” Matt enthusiastically exclaimed when I pointed to the book with great excitement. I had high expectations, and George showed a lot of promise.
You see, Curious George has been on the air since 2006. And while I shudder every. single. time that monkey’s abhorrent monkey sounds escape his little monkey face, I applaud its multi-layered writing. I think Elle Ko, one of SIX reviewers on IMDB’s Curious George (TV Series) page, said it best: “While George enters into situations in which common sense, math, and science concepts are introduced, the narrator maintains a sympathetic and respectful tone toward his mistakes and lack of understanding. Outlandish situations are presented as such, and they are often funny for both the kids and adult audience.” Agreed, Elle! Well said.
We purchased the book. When you can spare enough time, pour a glass of red, curl up under a cozy blanket and read up. I’ve provided pictures of each and every page for you.
As you can imagine, LOTS to discuss.
I’ve got mega questions out the gate, starting with page 1. Firstly, what story-line am I, the reader, to extract from this narrative? To where is George floating? Or perhaps we should be asking from whom is he floating? Why is this never addressed? Is it an ex-lover? Perhaps a lady monkey who ooh-ooh ah-ah’d around town a little too much. Regardless, the plot remains unclear to the very end. There’s no real thematic journey, just a random chain of events that left our family very disappointed. Strike 1.
Character development. It felt as though we were introduced to characters whose stories we never got to see play out. For example, the gull we met on pages one and two is never again mentioned. He “flies high” but does he ever fly low? Land on the side of the boat, perhaps? My biggest question, I suppose, regarding the gull is what he thought when he spotted a monkey alone in a boat with no paddle or motor. He had to be confused, no? While George’s stranded monkey butt is smiling, Gull is saying, “NO SERIOUSLY, how are you going to get back to land?” We’re all unsure, Gull. And that is where the author dropped the ball BIG TIME in the perspective department. Strike 2.
The anchor. Really, George? I’ve never seen a more inappropriately sized anchor illustration. Nice try, but that would clearly take you down deep into the depths of the puddle you’re floating atop.
“Crab on the sand lends a hand.” If you could choose one creature by whom to never be lent a hand ever, would it not be the pinchers-for-hands creature? I mean, the least likely candidate for hand-lending ever is supposed to be believed to be lending a hand?
That brings me to my biggest issue with this narrative, my 3rd strike. There is literally no conflict. There are opportunities for conflict, what with the soaring, condescending gull overhead and the crab that is going around lending “hands”, but no actual conflict was played out. Where there is no conflict, there is no climax, and where there is no climax, THERE IS NO RESOLUTION. Are we fools, readers?! Hardly. I cannot stand for this. And neither should you. Look. I took AP English, ok? I would be doing Mrs. Sandifer a real disservice if I didn’t put this publication on blast.
I think I’ve made clear my opinion of this book. I am very disappointed in the snooze fest that is My Little Boat. I know how controversial bath book reviews can be, and I hope I’ve not lost any readers with my criticisms, but if you have any feedback or comments, please leave them in the comments section. I am always open to a literary merit debate.
Where exactly do the rest of my family members stand on this novel? Matt can’t even look me in the face. And rightfully so. His level of disappointment, I’ve not yet processed.
As for Isla, she is simply furious.