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Paddle-to-the-Sea Hardcover – September 9, 1941
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-Holling's Caldecott Honor book, originally published in 1941, will surely find a new audience with this dramatic reading. Narrator Terry Bregy delivers an exceptional performance. His cadence ranges from smooth and easy to energetic, and listeners are lead along on the story's journey. A young Indian boy from Nipigon country in the Canadian wilderness carves an Indian figure in a 12-inch canoe that he names Paddle-to-the-Sea. Wishing that he could undertake a journey to the Atlantic Ocean, the boy sends the toy carving instead. Paddle-to-the-Sea begins on a snow bank near a river that eventually leads him to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, Paddle's journey is fraught with danger including wild animals, saw mills, fishing nets, and a shipwreck. Paddle receives help staying on course from people who read the message carved on his canoe ("Put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea"). Four years later, Paddle has reached his destination, and listeners have experienced an incredible story complete with geography, nature, drama, and adventure. Original music accompanies the reading and adds to the mood. A notable listening experience for families, public and school libraries alike will value this addition to their audio collections.â"Shauna Yusko, King County Library System, Bellevue, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"Geography of the best kind made vivid by the power of imagination." Horn Book Guide
Top Customer Reviews
An Indian boy, landlocked in central Canada, carves of wood a small Indian man in a canoe, and places him on a snowy hillside, with a message on the bottom of his canoe identifying him as "Paddle-To-The-Sea" and pleading with anyone who finds him to put him back in the water so he can complete his long journey -- a journey the boy cannot make himself.
At the spring thaw, the wooden canoe slides down the mountain and into streams, ponds, and eventually the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River. Paddle encounters boats, animals, ships' locks, a forest fire, a sawmill, and many other threats and adventures. Many pairs of hands discover and help him along his mighty journey. One even repaints him after a year or more of bad weathering.
Each chapter-page of the book has a facing full-page painting in rich colors, as well as small marginal illustrations. The book is a great adventure story, but it's also an effective geography lesson for folks who don't live in or know that part of the country. Like someone else wrote, I will never forget that Lake Superior is shaped like a wolf's head and Lake Huron like a fur trapper with a pack on his back. (Can't remember which lake is the carrot and which the piece of coal, though!)
This is a beautiful, classic book for older children, which should remain in print for generations to come. I can't wait until my niece is old enough to be ready for a copy.
Despite that scene, Paddle to the Sea contains imagery and imagination, which makes the book memorable. The artwork is great, and Holling's very descriptive language and familiarity of geography makes this book a learning experience. I found chapter 24 to be quite interesting because of its short snippet of history -- the discovery of the Great Lakes region, Champlain "the Father of New France" and the Iroquois. Every chapter in the book, all twenty seven, covers each different region that Paddle flows through, and bears significance to how the free-flowing waters, be it Lake Superior or the crashing waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, cannot stop a wooden canoe and its Indian paddler from riding through.
Every child should read Paddle to the Sea, or have it read to them. And as for older children or adults that still want to revisit their curiosity of imagination, they will definitely find it unforgettable. You never forget about the books that touch you in some way.
The adventure so inspired my brother and me that we fashioned our own "Paddles" out of our lunch-time milk cartons. We launched them in the late spring snow drifts that filled a drainage ditch. Our imaginations took those little waxed paper cartons to the ends of the earth.
Mr. Holling's images invite the young reader to enter this world of the Great Lakes and envelopes like a favorite blanket. I remember gazing at each scene for long periods of time searching for Paddle, who sometimes appears as just a tiny bit of red lost in a world of moving water.
Children find this book as riveting today as I did in my youth. I gave a copy to my friend's son a few years ago and he loves it. The way of life on the Great Lakes may have changed significantly since the book was written in 1941, but children's imaginations and sense of adventure have not. This book should be on every school and home bookshelf.