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Paddle-to-the-Sea Hardcover – September 9, 1941

4.9 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"Geography of the best kind made vivid by the power of imagination." Horn Book

"Geography of the best kind made vivid by the power of imagination." Horn Book Guide
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Library Binding edition (September 9, 1941)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395150825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395150825
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 9.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David J. Loftus on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in Oregon. My grandmother, who lived in Alaska and Oregon, gave me a copy of this book when I was about 8, many decades ago. I have never forgotten it and have been delighted to find another copy of late.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Paddle-To-The-Sea was one of the first long books my mother read to me [early 60's] and one of the first long books I read on my own. Many elements make this a fantastic book for elementary school-age children: it is an excellent geography lesson, teaching the reader about the Great Lakes region; it shows a character being creative and sending his creation out into the world without knowing if there will be a return for his actions; the payoff for the carver of Paddle-To-The-Sea comes only after a long period of time. When I spent the summer of 1966 in Minnesota with my family, we visited many of the places in the book including Lake Superior. I remember how much the book informed that summer. Several years ago I revisited Lake Superior for the first time since '66 and the images of a small carved Native American in a canoe were still on my mind. Give this book to a young person so they can take its literary journey and have it leave them with a lasting impression.
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By A Customer on November 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read "Paddle to the Sea" as a young girl and havebeen in love with the story ever since. Rich in information about theGreat Lakes and beautifully illustrated it should be a must read forall grade school children in and around the Great Lakes. I have felt that for over 40 yrs. People will ask me how I know so much about the Great Lakes. I just smile and think of "Paddle".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I remember encountering Paddle to the Sea as a second grader in Oregon. It's one of those books that was shared during library day, and I still haven't forgotten it. It was significant to me as a child, and it's still significant today. It's the wonder and amazement of how a wooden carved canoe with its lone Indian paddler referred to as "Paddle" could journey from his origins, Nipigon Country, to the Sea towards the Grand Bank and France, could confront eye-popping experiences. Paddle sees the serene sounds of the cool Canadian waters, and the bewilderment of man's progress with a sawmill and its smoke-pipe buildings, which author, Holling Clancy Holling, ferociously describes as a monster eating away nature's domain -- tearing down trees and running an assembly line of log jams.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book brings back fond memories of a wonderful childhood growing up in rural Michigan. It was a permanent fixture on the bookshelf in the old Berville school house when I was just a boy in the 60's. There was even a slide show version shown occasionally when the weather was too nasty to play outside.
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.
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