Andrew began designing boats when he opened a lumberyard in New Orleans, and needed something that could move his cut trees through the shallow waters there. Another challenge for Andrew, who designed a flat bottom boat to do the job. Naturally, as the lumber business slowed down, boat building became Andrew's main focus. In fact, he built such great boats for those shallow waters that his landing boats, a/k/a Higgins boats, could "crunch through driftwood, bounce over logs, climb a beach, ...wham up on a sloping concrete sea wall." They were so good that more and more people wanted them.
I loved this well-written, accessible picture book for older readers, but besides excellent writing, the text is extended and enhanced by the very detailed, very realistic painted illustrations by artist Brock Nicol. He chose a bright palette for the images of Andrew growing up and seeking his passion, and switched to a palette of army greens and browns for the WWII images. I think he really captured Andrew Higgins' life and his work as befits an American hero.
Back Matter includes a Glossary, an Author's Note, and a list of Important Dates in the life of Andrew Higgins. You may also want to watch this interview from September 2020 with authors Nancy Rust and Carol Stubbs by curator Josh Schick at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans
|An iconic image of a Higgins Boat on D-Day|