Ready To Set Sail?

Verushka, our Children’s Book Expert from “The Book Lounge” – an independent bookshop in the Eastern Precinct of Cape Town City Centre, shares her selection of stories about going to sea. Thanks Verushka!

To find out more about how to buy the books, visit

Sam who went to seaSam who went to Sea by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (R120.00)

Sam is a river rat, but the sea is calling him. Against the wishes of his friends and neighbours, he orders plans on how to build a sailing ship. He spends a whole year hammering away. Spring comes around again and he is finally ready to set sail! He can feel the ocean calling him. Once Sam is surrounded by waves, he is happy. But Sam’s neighbours are worried about him, so he sends word via a seagull that he has at last found his heart’s desire! The illustrations in this book are really beautiful and perfectly capture the process that Sam goes through to build the ship that will eventually lead him to his true home.

Jack and the Flumflum TreeJack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts (R110.00)

When Granny is diagnosed with a bad case of the moozles, the only thing that will help is the fruit of the flumflum tree. So Jack, with his crew of Rose and Stu, set off to the faraway island of Blowyernose. Granny packs them a patchwork sack that contains many things that come in handy as they battle the elements of the ocean on their journey. The balloons keep the sharks away and the tom-tom drum distracts the monkey. With the fruit found and safe, the three sail back home to help Granny get better. Jack thanks Granny for all the things she sent along – but, we have to wait until the end of the story to find out what the three hankies are for. This book is excellent for reading aloud.

Tim and Lucy go to SeaTim and Lucy go to Sea by Edward Ardizonne, illustrated by the author himself (R227.00 hardcover only)

Edward Ardizzone’s Little Tim books  (first published in 1936) have been loved by generations of children for their spirited adventures and enchanting narrative from a storyteller who spoke straight to young readers’ imaginations. Things never quite go as planned on Tim’s voyages. His new friend Lucy and her guardian Mr. Grimes, are delighted when the enterprising five-year-old proposes that they buy a boat and head out to sea. While cruising on the beautiful yacht Evangeline, they quickly fall into the clutches of villainous mutineers. Will Tim save the day? This book is a treasure and a keepsake. It is always great to read the old stories, to remember that imagination and adventure has been with us since time begun.