Yellow Kayak
Yellow Kayak

Yellow Kayak

Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Melissa Castrillón
4 - 8
Reading age
Page count
Jan 23, 2018
Publication date

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What Does Bookroo Think of Yellow Kayak

An inventive, swirling color palette and minimal, skillful rhyming combine to create a wistful, memorable sea voyage.

A young child and a faithful giraffe companion take to the ocean in a yellow kayak. Initially, their journey is calm yet exciting. “Fish jump” and “Loons float” while they drift out to sea through a picturesque arch as the sun sinks toward the horizon. But tension increases as an adventure-inducing breeze swells the ocean waves to a tempestuous storm. When the skies clear once more, just as the brave sailors seem to be out of harm’s way, a giant tail rises from the water, and “monster” whales are discovered circling beneath the fragile kayak. But “Eyes watch, then understand,” and the imposing creatures turn out to be an escort home, where the child and giraffe sit safely on the dock, watching the day end as they savor their ocean journey. Laden’s rhymes are delightful throughout, though a near rhyme disappoints in the midst of otherwise perfect rhymes. Castrillon’s color scheme is bold and imaginative, although when coupled with the text it could at times confuse young readers (for instance, the “blue sky” is actually depicted yellow). Her memorable, pencil-sketched, digitally-colored illustrations have a notable layered, lithograph-like element to them and, combined with Laden’s minimal text, present many moments to simply admire the beautiful ocean imagery.

What Kind of Book is Yellow Kayak


friendshipwhalesleaving homehomethe oceanboatsbraveryscience and naturemarine lifesea creaturesadventure and adventurersgiraffesanimalsboats, ships and underwater vehiclestransportation

Writing Styles

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • The illustrations in this story are swirling and full of details. What emotions do you feel when you view the pictures and colors on each page?
  • On their adventure, the boy and his giraffe have moments of excitement, moments and peace, and moments of danger, all in the same day. Have you had days when you've felt excited then scared? Or scared then relieved?


Book Lists That Include Yellow Kayak

The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Nina Laden Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Nina Laden know that you want to hear from them about their book.

What Has Melissa Castrillón Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Melissa Castrillón know that you want to hear from them about their book.

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Book Details

Publication Date
January 23, 2018
Simon and Schuster-Paula Wiseman Books
Text Details
The text for this book was set in Simoncini Garamond.
Illustration Details
The illustrations for this book were rendered in pencil and then colored digitally.
Page Count
Reading Age
4 - 8 years

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Core Score - 40%

Still needs the basics.

Depth Score - 28%

Just the barebones.

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