Picture Book Review: This is the Boat that Ben Built

This Is the Boat That Ben Built by Jen Lynn Bailey

This Is the Boat That Ben Built
by Jen Lynn Bailey (Goodreads Author), Maggie Zeng (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Ben goes an adventure down the river in his boat. His mother and dog follow a path on land, walking along the shore and waving hello. Ben observes animals and fish along the river. He examines a loon with his magnifying glass. He catches a fish and releases it later. He captures butterflies and fireflies in a jar.

The text is delightful! There is a lilting rhythm as each page adds a repetitive line to the text, similar to the structure of the poem “This is the House that Jack Built.” Every animal that Ben encounters is added to the repetition; a beaver, a black bear, a loon, and a goose. But eventually things get a little crowded on the river, and a hooting owl startles them all!

There are so many clever little details in this book, like the endpapers. On the front inside cover endpapers, Ben is using a net to catch a fish, and on the back endpapers, he is releasing the same fish from a water bucket where he kept it.

I love the beautiful illustrations! The artwork reflects the sunlight on the water in the most attractive way. Each scene changes as the sun begins to set and the light gets warmer. Ben is such a cute little character, and all the animals are adorable!

At the back of the book, there is a section of information about ecosystems and how each animal, insect, and fish plays a part in that balance. There are pages about the fish, mammals, and birds that were in the book, giving more facts about each species. Then the reader is encouraged to reimagine the story in a different way with new animals!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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