The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater and illustrated by Eric Fan and Terry Fan
A philosophical fox named Marco has lots of questions about the world, but the other foxes in his forest are practical-minded and don’t understand his questions. So when Marco sees a ship come in at the harbor, he sets out on an adventure to find other foxes who can answer his questions. He joins the ship, with a captain and crew of three deer. A flock of pigeons also join the crew. Their destination is an island with sweet grass and trees to eat. Along the way, the group faces harsh weather and perils such as dangerous rocks and a band of pirates. As discouragement sets in, Marco lifts the group’s spirits by remaining positive and taking concrete steps to achieve success, such as looking at the charts on the ship to plot a course for the island instead of sailing aimlessly and making a meal to fill their hungry bellies from a cookbook he finds. In turn, each member of the crew contributes to the success of their voyage.
When they arrive at the lush island, Marco doesn’t find any other foxes and is disappointed, but then he realizes that he has found friends in the other animals on the voyage with him and they have some of the answers he seeks. Most importantly, they offer friendship and companionship. At the end of the book, the friends set sail for another adventure. A wonderful story of friendship, adventure, curiosity, and determination. The book contains magnificent, detailed illustrations of the sea and sky and various wildlife done in pen-and-pencil illustrations, colored digitally.