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Children's Fiction General

Gubby Builds a Boat

illustrated by Kim La Fave

by (author) Gary Kent

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2012
General, General, Business, Careers, Occupations
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2012
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 6
  • Grade: 3


This follow-up to the bestselling book Fishing with Gubby (Harbour Publishing, 2010) continues the adventures of Gubby, a commercial salmon fisherman, who heads home to his village on the Sunshine Coast at the end of another long season. His beloved old boat, the Flounder, is worn out and he commissions a Japanese-Canadian boat builder in historic Steveston to build him a new one. The story follows the stages of building a boat from selecting plans to preparing the wood to laying the keel to final finishing and launching.

Combining the masterful storytelling of Gary Kent and the striking illustrations of Kim La Fave, Gubby Builds a Boat transports the reader to a golden age of boat construction when craftsmen passed their skills down through the generations. This 32-page, graphic novel-style book documents the rich traditions of the Japanese-Canadian fishing community and wooden boat building on the West Coast, and offers a nostalgic portrait of commercial salmon fishing in the 1970s. Aimed at the age 6 to 10 reading level, it can be appreciated by boat and book lovers of all ages.

About the authors

Kim La Fave, a Governor General's Award-winning artist, is the illustrator of Amos's Sweater (by Janet Lunn) -- winner of the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for illustration -- Follow That Star (by Kenneth Oppel), I Am Small (by Cherrie Fitch), the bestselling The Bones and Skeleton Book (by Steven Cumbaa) and many other children's books. He lives in Roberts Creek, BC.

Kim La Fave's profile page

Gary Kent grew up in Vancouver and received his BA from the University of British Columbia. He was a commercial fisherman and salmon troller for ten years and is now a furniture maker and instructor at the Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking. He lives in Roberts Creek, BC.
Left: Gary Kent, right, with Puss and illustrator Kim La Fave. Photo by Manuel Sierra Sanchez-Medal.

Gary Kent's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Gubby Builds a Boat

In this sequel to Fishing with Gubby, the author describes the building of a wooden gillnet fishing boat. As Gubby heads home to Gibsons his boat starts taking on water. An emergency stop for repairs confirms his fears that his old troller needs to be replaced. Gubby heads to Steveston to ask his JapaneseCanadian friend Minoru to build him a new gillnetter. With lots of help from Gubby and his nephew Cameron, Minoru works through the year to finish the boat. Seasonal celebrations mark their progress.

The Tintin-style illustrations detail the construction of the boat from choosing the keel to caulking the planks. Once the boat is christened and the net is rolled onto the drum it is time for a celebration.

This story reflects the traditional boat building and commercial salmon fishing of the 1970s and does not necessarily demonstrate current practices.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

Other titles by Kim La Fave

Other titles by Gary Kent

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