The Tugboat and the Silver Moon

by Kersten Hamilton (Author) Barry Gott (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A timeless picture book from the creator of the Red Truck and Friends series about a ship stuck in a canal and the moon that set it free.

The silver moon sails through the vast blue sky as a cargo ship down below is stuck in a canal. The tugboat tugs until the line goes taut. The diggers scoop up enough sand for a castle. The dredger glugs all the silt he can. But it's no use. For seven long days, the moon watches as the ship stays put, becoming fuller, brighter, closer, until she's finally strong enough to pull the ocean into a mighty tide and save the ship.

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Publishers Weekly

When strong winds cause a cargo ship to get stuck sideways in a canal, neither protagonist Tug nor hardworking dredgers and diggers can get her free. But the silver moon's "dance with the earth and the sun raised the tides that help ships," and her orbit eventually moves her into a position where she's "the fullest and closest and strongest she could possibly be," Hamilton writes. Now a supermoon, "she pulled the sea up in a mighty tide. A KING TIDE!" that propels the cargo ship out of the sand. Gott's digitally rendered illustrations present a fully anthropomorphized toylike world: puffy-cheeked clouds create the wind, the poor cargo ship sheds anxious tears ("Ships float. That's what we're supposed to do"), and the moon is concerned but confident--the very picture of a benevolent force. An afterword explains the science behind the story. Ages 3-7. (July)

Copyright 2024 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


A dynamic rescue tale laced with an age-appropriate science lesson.

Review quotes

Inspired by the true story of the Ever Given, which in 2021 became stuck in the Suez Canal, the narrative is related in a breathtaking manner that will leave readers on the edge of their seats . . . A dynamic rescue tale laced with an age-appropriate science lesson. —Kirkus Reviews
Kersten Hamilton
Kersten Hamilton is the author of over twenty-five books. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit her at

Barry Gott has been drawing his entire life. His first book was illustrated on the backs of paint can labels from his dad's paint factory and dictated to his mom, since he'd only mastered writing the letters A through C. He's been creating children's books, humorous greeting cards, and various other art in his attic studio in Cleveland, Ohio, ever since.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
July 09, 2024
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV041020 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | Boats, Ships, & Underwater Craft
Library of Congress categories

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