For the most part, I Go By Sea is fascinating, packed with details about wartime travel and attitudes. However, I could have done without the casual anti-Semitism of the ship being packed with 'large-nosed' 'foreign men' who are 'only Tourists.' Eleven year old Sabrina, who recounts the story, and her younger brother James befriend some 'lower-decks' children along the way, which reminded me a little of Nikki Greenberg's A Detective's Guide to Ocean Travel, which is set about fifteen years earlier.
In parts I Go By Sea is quite moving, especially when the children receive some bad news at the end of the book, and it's here that the book's purpose as wartime propaganda is mostly clearly evident. The children are frequently reminded to display 'Love and Courage' even in their comfortable exile, and one can only wonder how much more those qualities would have been needed back at home. It's unusual to read an account like this written in the thick of events, rather than with the benefit of hindsight; Sabrina, James and Pel had no idea how their story was going to end.