A lively book of children’s verse that captures the excitement of seeing boats of all sizes.
Kirkus Reviews

San Francisco Boats on the Bay: A Voyage in Riddles
ISBN-13: 1484958001
ISBN-10: 1484958004
80 pages, perfect bound
fully illustrated with color photographs
9" x 6"

Donna Benedetti
Cover art, maps & design by Jeremy Thornton
Available from Amazon


San Francisco Boats on the Bay:
A Voyage in Riddles

sample page from San Francisco Boats on the Bay

In her latest book, Donna Benedetti takes children aboard 24 distinct vessels of all shapes and sizes (e.g., kayaks, tugboats, ferries, container ships, oil tankers, etc.) that travel the waters of San Francisco Bay.

Each sailing vessel is introduced through a riddle and a partial boat image, as seen through a young sailor's spyglass. These clues challenge voyagers to read and look carefully while they try to guess the kind of boat being described. A turn of the page reveals the answer, together with a full-color photo of the boat or ship, well-researched facts (in Captain’s Notes) and a thought-provoking question (announced by Ahoy!). Additional features include maps, detailed answers to questions, a boating glossary, mooring locations, related places of interest, and activities for children.

Written for children, ages 5 – 12, with delightful designs by Jeremy Thornton, San Francisco Boats on the Bay: A Voyage in Riddles can be read again and again, as its young readers become budding boat and Bay enthusiasts.




A lively book of children’s verse that captures the excitement of seeing boats of all sizes.

Two dozen riddles, all written as poems, introduce the many kinds of boats that readers might see on a trip around San Francisco Bay, from floating homes to oil tankers to the historic tall ship Balclutha. After each riddle, the book reveals the name of each type of boat, accompanied by a list of facts. Some descriptions are fairly straightforward: “Speedboats can travel as fast as 60 miles per hour in choppy waters and 90 miles per hour in calm waters.” Others are thought-provoking and complex: “Crabbers want to make sure crabs are protected and plentiful. So when they pull up their traps, they keep only the ‘legal’ crabs…and throw the others back.” (“Legal” crabs, the author explains, are male crabs at least 6 1/4 inches in diameter.) This photo-filled book will likely hold the attention of little landlubbers reading aloud with their parents, as well as that of older kids with a sustained interest all things maritime. Benedetti (Tip Top Thinkamajigs, 2012, etc.) includes specific pointers on where to see each boat in the Bay Area—cruise ships at San Francisco’s Pier 35 and tugboats at Pier 50, for example—making it a fun guide for both visitors and residents. The verses vary in energy and quality, sometimes stilted but sometimes peppy and light, as in a description of a rowboat, for example: “I sit low in the waters / Near seals, fish and otters. / I’ve never needed motors / Or wheels, gas or rotors.” Parents of younger children will find them to be fun read-aloud introductions; older readers, however, will likely page right past them to get to the facts. It’s easy to imagine a boat-obsessed kid dreaming of a first trip to the ocean and poring over the photos, verses, trivia, maps, nautical terminology and activities provided here.

A witty introduction to boats and a useful reference for youngsters.

                                                                                                       — Kirkus Reviews