Walter the ferry dog loved to greet cars as they came on board each morning. Fetching the captain's newspaper and tasting the cook's bacon were Walter's other important jobs. Cupcake the Cat was just about the only thing Walter disliked about being a ferry dog. One rainy day the waves were rough and no one was paying much attention to Walter. Even worse, Cupcakes was poking him with her paw and playing tricks as Walter was being blamed. He decided it was time to leave the ferry! Once on land he ran, and ran, and ran. Soon the day darkened, and Walter was lost and exhausted. Wondering who would do his jobs on the ferry, he felt a familiar poke from a familiar paw. Would Cupcake help him get back to ferry where he belonged?
|Interest Level||Kindergarten - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 3|
|ATOS Reading Level||3.0|
|Guided Reading Level||K|
|Publisher||Sleeping Bear Press|
|Available Formats||Hardcover (9781585368297), PDF (9781627537292), Hosted ebook (9781627537506)|
|Number of Pages||32|
|Dimensions||11 x 9|
School Library Journal - Ferry Tail
Walter enjoys being a ferry dog. Greeting passengers and posing with babies makes him feel loved, and keeping sea gulls off the deck is just plain fun. But on the day Walter notices Cupcake (the Captain’s cat) has taken his place as the chef’s bacon taster and the engineer’s entertainer, he runs off the ferry the first chance he gets. Life on land is no better, though, and when Walter discovers how difficult it is to make new friends, he realizes who he misses most and that sometimes, an adversary might become a good friend. Wong’s naturalistic drawings make it easy to sympathize with Walter and applaud for the spoiled cat as she helps him find his way home.–Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Walter loves his life as the resident dog aboard a ferry, where he befriends the travelers, barks at the seagulls, and helps the crew with their jobs. He does not love Cupcake, the captain’s pampered cat. One day, after Cupcake lands him in trouble, Walter disembarks onto the island. He enjoys exploring, but the people are unfriendly, and when a chilly fog rolls in, he can’t find the ferry. Walter feels miserable until Cupcake unexpectedly appears and leads him home. Children will relate to this lovable dog who always wants to help but is often turned away for reasons that don’t make sense to him. The story comes to life in Wong’s ink drawings, brightened with watercolor washes. Besides developing the settings with delicate precision, the illustrations portray Walter as a dog full of energy and personality. While appreciating the pun in the title is optional, many kids will enjoy this canine adventure story.
An energetic, joyful dog finds his true home and family on board a large ferryboat that conveys cars and people to an island community.
Walter is a large, reddish dog with a white nose and tail, possibly part Irish setter. He freely roams the ferryboat on its daily trip, bringing the newspaper to the gray-bearded captain, listening to the sound of the engine with the ship’s female engineer and tasting the bacon for the male cook. Walter gets along with everyone except the captain’s spoiled cat, Cupcake, who tries to take over Walter’s duties aboard ship. When Walter leaves the ship and tries life on the island, he finds he isn’t welcomed there by anyone, and life on land is strange and unsatisfying for a canine used to life onboard. Cupcake the cat shows up to retrieve the lost dog, and they return to the ferryboat together as friends in a satisfying conclusion. Although the plot is predictable, the text conveys genuine emotion in Walter’s classic search for his true home. A large trim size and appealing illustrations in a variety of formats bring Walter’s antics and the island community to life.
Though a dog on the loose on a ferryboat is truly a fairy tale, Walter’s story is a tale well-told. (Picture book. 4-7)
Author: Katharine Kenah
Katharine Kenah grew up in New York surrounded by oceanographers from all over the world. After planning to be a vet, she detoured into oceanography when she discovered how much she loved working on ships. One of those ships later found the RMS Titanic. Kate has written 30 books, including three series of early readers. Kate lives in Granville, OH, with her geologist husband. Her three children often work in other parts of the world. When she isn't at her desk, Kate is frequently taking a hike or riding a bike.
Illustrator: Nicole Wong
Nicole Wong drew constantly as a girl—including on the walls behind furniture, where her mom would find drawings years later. She received her first freelance illustration job when she was 12, and later graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration. She’s a full-time, award-winning illustrator of magazines and children’s educational and trade books. She lives in Fall River, Massachusetts with her family, two dogs, and two cats.