Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man

Author and Illustrator:  Robert McCloskey


You’d better be ready for a “whale of an adventure” when you read this exciting tale of Burt Dow.  If you don’t know know what a “deep-water man” is, you will soon find out.  Burt’s boat, the Tidely-Idley is the pride and joy of Burt’s life, and between doing odd jobs for people he keeps her painted and patched as best he can.  Which means every time he does a paint job, he brings home the leftover paint and uses it on the Tidely-Idley.

“That pink plank,” he says, “is the color of Ginny Poor’s pantry… and the green one is the color of the floor and doors in Doc Walton’s waiting-room… and there’s the tan porch and trim color from Capt’n Haskell’s house.”


There is nothing that Burt Dow enjoyed more than heading out to sea.  But being a good “deep-water man,” he knew to study the color of the sky, the color of the water, and the direction of the wind.  He settled on a a fishing spot, baited his hook with clams and lowered it over the side.  It was a long time before something finally tugged on the line, but when it did, it REALLY TUGGED!  For when I told you this was a “whale of an adventure,” it really was for old Burt! He had indeed hooked onto a whale’s tail!

What happened next is something you’ll just have to read for yourself.  But I will tell you that if Burt Dow’s friends and neighbors thought that the Tidely-Idley was painted rather brightly and colorfully, they might have been rather shocked to see some whales that may have appeared soon after encountering old Burt.


Robert McCloskey has once again delighted us with a story in which we become involved, and illustrations which fill us with wonder.

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