This is literally a wonderful book. The wonder is that of a boy, Noah Marlin, growing up along the Chester River near the Chesapeake Bay. Inevitably there is something of Twain and Tarkington in his pranks, hooky-playing, and fishing. But other qualities distinctly Gilbert Byron's make the novel more than a nostalgic re-creation of an American childhood. This isn't childhood we're reading about, it's life.
Crabs, perch, terrapin and frogs enter the episodes, but they are the only things fishy about this very happy sequence of a boy's growing.
(New York Times Book Review