A Big Blue Boat by Susea Spray (Illustrated by Lesley Cybulka) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young girl explores the sea in author Susea Spray’s brand new children’s picture book, “A Big Blue Boat”, illustrated by Lesley Cybulka.


The Synopsis

The seas are calm and the winds gently blowing, when a Big Blue Boat and her Captain head out for a day’s sail. As the winds strengthen, and the sea starts to rollick and frolic, will our Big Blue Boat and her Captain make it safely back to shore?

Parents looking for picture books about boats or picture books about sailing will fall in love with A Big Blue Boat. It’s one of the best sailing stories of 2021. Especially, if you’re looking for picture books about sailing for girls. Written for early readers and pre-schoolers, it’ll have them learning to sail in no time.

Children will love joining in with the rhythm and rhyme in this cumulative story about a boat, a girl and the rollicking frolicking sea.

A boat.

A big blue boat.

A big blue boat with billowing sails.

A big blue boat with billowing sails and …

In the tradition of There Once Was A Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus TreeThe Big Blue Boat takes readers on an ever-growing rhyming song in this beautiful yarn about boats for early readers.

The Big Blue Boat also features a female captain, making it a great option for those looking for books about sailing for girls as well as picture books about boats. All families interested in sailing and boats will love Susea Spray’s fun-filled adventure. After all, who better to write boat stories for girls, than an author living on a boat?

Beloved by educators, The Big Blue Boat reinforces key early learning skills. “From a teacher’s perspective, and thinking about literacy skills, the repetition is really great, as it helps children access reading of some key words along with the adult reader.” Dr Kathryn Macfarlane (teacher and children’s author)

Buy The Big Blue Boat to set sail on a magical journey today!

The Review

This was a fun and spectacular read. The author did such an incredible job of crafting a narrative for children that was both entertaining and educational. The contrast of the warmth of the boat and captain in the imagery to the coolness of the ocean and environment itself in the illustrations really did a great job of drawing the reader into the narrative further.

Yet it was the author’s writing style that really captured my attention. The simple yet powerful story of adventure that came to life on the pages as a young girl became the captain of her own boat, sailing on the high seas and exploring the oceans was inspiring to read. The use of repetition, rhythm and even glossary terms for the educational purposes of learning about boating and the ocean as a whole was perfectly layered into the overall narrative. 

The Verdict

Fun, light-hearted, and engaging, author Susea Spray’s “A Big Blue Boat” is a must-read children’s story and picture book. The memorable educational moments from this read and the attention-grabbing and beautiful artwork work well together to create an entertaining and heartfelt read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

As a child, Susea was always engrossed in a book. It really wasn’t surprising when she chose lower primary for her career.

A retired classroom teacher who majored in English and Children’s Literature, Susea spent 23 years making literacy learning fun for her young students. Her favourite time of day was sitting down with a story or two and immersing her young students in the world of books. Susea later trained and worked as a Reading Recovery teacher.

A new passion was found as she entered that special world, working with struggling readers on an individual basis. Watching those children blossom as readers – and in confidence – made her heart soar.

Susea had always written in one form or another. A decade ago, she and her husband commenced on an around the world sailing odyssey. Their travels were recorded on their sailing blog.

Over the decades, Susea had always desired to enter the world of writing for the young. As she recorded the sailing journey, notes and ideas for children’s picture books were taking form. At long last she had found her passion and a voice – the stories were bursting at the seams!

Susea was now able to share her love of language, sailing and sea with young and old through the eyes of a Big Blue Boat and her Captain. Realistic sailing stories for the young, particularly girls, were born.

A Big Blue Boat, her first book, was launched in March 2022. A 2022 Literary Titan Award winner and 2021 Page Turner Awards finalist, it is a cumulative story about a boat, a girl and the rollicking frolicking sea.

Two sequels are now with her friend, and Artist, Lesley Cybulka for illustrating and several new stories are underway.

In her spare time, Susea also loves to research, cook, photograph, quilt, embroider, walk, and work on her sailing blog.

Teacher’s Resource Pack Available For Purchase: A Big Blue Boat Teacher Resource Pack




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