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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The Rainbow Boat is a children’s book by Hélène Ferreira. Life is a journey, perhaps not always on a boat, but it’s an adventurous journey nonetheless. A rainbow boat, crewed initially by girls, journeys the high seas and encounters many interesting, exciting and sometimes dangerous places. First, they find an island of boys and, since they make friends, the boys join the girls on the journey. The girls and boys join forces to face the many challenges presented to them at various stops along the way. They work collaboratively together, and as they address each new adventure or challenge, their boat earns a different color to identify with the adventure they faced. The boat is a happy place, and the girls and boys work together to find an unexplored island where they can be happy together.
Hélène Ferreira has written a charming picture book story, The Rainbow Boat, in which she encourages an inclusive, diverse, positive, and happy living environment for all children. The story is told in rhyming verse and is almost lyrical in its presentation. With bright, bold, colorful illustrations, the plot leads the rainbow boat full of children across the high seas, looking for that perfect place to settle. Using colorful stripes to identify with their successes and challenges, the boat takes on a colorful aura of its own. As each new colorful stripe is added, the word for that color is written in decorative script and in the color itself, so young readers will quickly learn to recognize the color’s written word. Much like the Biblical story of Joseph and his multicolored coat, the rainbow boat becomes a symbol for these children, a symbol of hope, kindness, friendship, inclusion, diversity, equality, and, most importantly, happiness. This story is a fun-filled fantastical journey full of adventure.