The Antlered Ship

Marco is a small fox with a lot of questions – why do some songs make you happy? Why do some make you sad? Why don’t trees talk? How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? When the Antlered Ship arrives, Marco joins its crew of deer and pigeons on a quest to find a wonderful island with tall, sweet grass and short, sweet trees, and more importantly, other foxes who will know the answers to his many questions.

The voyage to the island is hard; the waves are overpowering, the pigeons are next to useless and the deer are worriers – all of them, including Marco, are out of their comfort zone – but somehow they find a way to work together, battling bad weather and pirates, eventually becoming a team. Marco and his crew come to the realisation that sometimes the most important thing is the journey you are on, and not the destination.

This story is full of beautiful language sparkling with alliteration, near-rhymes and assonance that is pure joy to read aloud. The illustrations by the Fan Brothers are delicate and detailed and presented in panoramic wide-screen that draws the reader into the world, The splash of every wave, every drop of freezing rain is felt by the reader, but so too is the warmth of the sunset, and the warmth of companionship.