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Letter to the Lake Hardcover – March 15, 1998


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Letter to the Lake + When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: DK CHILDREN; 1st American ed edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789424835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789424839
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite Catalanotto's (Dylan's Day Out) exquisite paintings, this exploration of a child's winter memories of her summer at the lake seems too self-consciously contrived to be compelling. "Dear Lake," writes Rosie, "When I think of you, I think of rocks hiding under the waves, like secrets. Remember me, your friend Rosie?" Catalanotto intersperses visibly frigid black-and-white illustrations of Rosie and her mother in winter with full-color paintings of Rosie's memories of warm days at the lake. Occasionally, the two worlds overlap in the girl's imagination: a black-and-white painting of the kitchen table shows a glimpse of Rosie's face in the reflection of the toaster, alongside a tray that contains just a hint of the lake's blue and purple landscape. Rosie's random reminiscences are sometimes poetic ("Our windows rattle, trying to get warm" or "I want to row all the way to summer, where you float the water lilies,...") and other times less involving ("I'm having toast for breakfast, with lots of raspberry jam. The kitchen window is covered over with frost. I keep some rocks from last summer on the windowsill"), but Swanson's (Getting Used to the Dark) epistolary style sounds too adult in tone to be convincing. On the other hand, the inventive perspectives and splashes of color in Catalanotto's impressionistic watercolors visually capture the complicated relationship between one's memory and experience. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 1AIn the middle of a cold and snowy winter, Rosie composes an imaginary letter to the lake where she spends summer vacations. She carries a rock that reminds her of her time there, and the paintings envision similar touchstonesAa small school of fish floating on the ceiling of Rosie's room, a patch of water weeds visible in the kitchen, etc. Words and images alternate seamlessly between the carefree summer remembrances and the grimmer winter realitiesAa harried-looking mother fretting over her checkbook and a car that won't start. All morning, the child carries her rock, but once she and her mother have gotten the car started, she slips the rock into her mother's pocket, hoping that it will cheer her. Rosie's powerful imagination helps her through the dreary day, and her point of view is consistently conveyed through both the text and the artwork Nearly black-and-white illustrations (with the briefest touch of summer superimposed on them) indicate a sober, winter-clothed child and her mother, interspersed with full-color pictures representing the lake in summer. One stunning full-page spread combines the two in an image of Rosie shedding her winter clothes in the same manner geese take flight as she rows past them on the lake. An excellent book for reading to one or more children who will enjoy picking out the seasonal differences in the art and will identify with the yearning for the uncomplicated times of summer.ATana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

SUSAN MARIE SWANSON is the author of Getting Used to the Dark: 26 Night Poems and the picture book Letter to the Lake, both illustrated by Peter Catalanotto. As a visiting poet in schools, she reads and writes poetry with children. Her reviews and essays about children's literature regularly appear in Riverbank Review, for which she is a contributing editor. Ms. Swanson lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book because Rosie doesn't get frustrated. Also, Rosie has a good imagination. She, in her mind sends a letter to her summer vacation spot, the lake. Thus the title, Letter to the Lake.
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