Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat

Book review by
Michelle Hong, Common Sense Media
Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat Book Poster Image
Exceptional art, sensitive story reunite a boy and his bear.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Tugboats and big blue boats are introduced as vessels of the sea.

Positive Messages

Jonathan shows that new friends and adventures can be found, even while missing an old friend. He is helped by many different animals, who join his crew as he searches for his beloved bear.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jonathan perseveres to find his favorite stuffed animal Frederick. His loyalty to his bear shows a level of friendship that is admirable.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jonathan's parents trade his beloved stuffed animal Frederick for a toaster. The book deals sensitively with the feelings of loss.

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What's the story?

Jonathan sets off in a big blue boat to find his stuffed bear. Along the way in his high seas adventures, he encounters new experiences and collects a crew of animals to help him in his search.

Is it any good?

This strikingly illustrated book -- a clever mix of watercolor and collage --does a remarkable job of dealing with Jonathan's feeling of sadness and loss. Jonathan demonstrates an open heart in inviting new friends on his journey.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about missing old friends and making new ones. Do you remember any friends you don't see any more?  Do you miss them?  Have you made new friends lately that make you happy?

  • Boats have different purposes on the sea. What did the tugboat do for the big blue boat? Why is the big blue boat better for traveling all over the world? What other boats have special jobs?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of humans and animals

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