The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater
Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Genre: Childrens, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

An inquisitive fox sets off on a seafaring voyage with a crew of deer and pigeons in this enchanting tale of friendship and adventure.

Marco the fox has a lot of questions, like: how deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? And why do birds have such lizardy feet? But none of the other foxes share his curiosity. So when a magnificent ship adorned with antlers and with a deer for a captain arrives at the dock looking for a crew, Marco volunteers, hoping to find foxes who are as inquisitive as he is that can answer his questions. The crew finds adventure and intrigue on their journey. And, at last, Marco finds the answer to his most important question of all: What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?

Marco can’t stop wondering about how the world works. Will he find the answers he seeks?

One of my favorite things about this book was how curious Marco was about the world. Not only he was a very smart fox, he was a persistent one as well. He never stopped asking questions even when the other animals around him didn’t understand what he was asking or didn’t know how to respond to him. The better I got to know him, the more I hoped that he’d figure out all of the stuff he couldn’t stop wondering about.

I would have liked to see the fantasy elements of this story explained better. Marco and the other animals regularly did things that animals normally aren’t capable of without any explanation given for how or when they learned to do that stuff. It felt odd to me to ignore this since it played such a huge role in how the plot developed. Even a sentence or two that talked about where their abilities came from would have been enough of an explanation for me.

Anything can happen when a ship is sailing on the ocean. I enjoyed all of the plot twists that snuck up on the characters while they were exploring their world. Some of them made me laugh, and others made me wonder how Marco and his friends would solve the problems they faced while they were traveling. If Ms. Slater ever decides to write a sequel, I’d sure like to find out what happens to these characters next.

The Antlered Ship should be read by anyone who is in the mood for an adventure.

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