Imagine passing a summer drifting up and down a slow-moving river, watching as cranes, turtles, raccoons, otters, and ducks grow accustomed to your presence. Envision days spent poling the raft through lily pads and grasses, glimpsing foxes through the trees on shore. On hot, sticky nights, picture a tent set up on the raft, from which you have an unobstructed view of huge bucks drinking from the moonlit river. Nicky has no idea what he's getting into when his father drops him off for the summer at his grandmother's cottage in the woods. And he's not especially pleased at the prospect. "There's nobody to play with ... She doesn't even have a TV." But this "river rat" is not the normal kind of grandma. Without pushing, she quietly allows Nicky to discover for himself the wonders of river life. Gradually, Nicky's interest in drawing the wildlife he sees brings him closer to his artist grandmother, and to an inner peace that looks as though it will last for a lifetime.
Jim LaMarche draws on his own childhood summer experiences for this lovely, serene story. As the light and weather change through the summer, the river reflects all the beauty of the season. LaMarche has illustrated many remarkable and award-winning picture books, including the magical Little Oh and The Rainbabies. (Ages 4 to 9) --Emilie Coulter
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From Publishers Weekly
Nicky's summer vacation in the Wisconsin woods fills up with quiet adventures when he discovers a raft covered with drawings of wild animals. PW's starred review praised the "exquisitely rendered" pastel drawings that "bathe the images in the bewitching glow of a riverfront dawn and dusk." Ages 6-up. (June)
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