Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review - Me and You and the Red Canoe

Me and You and the Red Canoe
by Jean E. Pendziwol
illustrated by Phil
Date: 2017
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

In the stillness of a summer dawn, two siblings leave their campsite with fishing rods, tackle and bait, and push a red canoe into the lake. A perfect morning on the water unfolds, with thrilling glimpses of wildlife along the way.

The narrator describes the experience vividly. Trailing a lure through the blue-green depths, the siblings paddle around a point, spotting a moose in the shallows, a beaver swimming towards its home and an eagle returning to its nest. Suddenly there is a sharp tug and the rod bends to meet the water. A few heart-stopping moments later, the pair pull a silvery trout from the water, then paddle back to the campsite to fry up a delicious breakfast.

The poetic text is accompanied by stunningly beautiful paintings rendered on wood panels that give a nostalgic feeling to the story.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a simple picture book, written in free verse, about two siblings who make an early-morning fishing trip in their red canoe.

Unlike the creepy, in-your-face, radical environmentalism of the last picture book I read (coincidentally from the same publisher), this is a more gentle look at appreciating nature. In the still of early morning, the siblings see and hear all sorts of things: moose, beavers, squirrels, eagles, and (of course) fish. The whole tone of the story is whisper-quiet, and it's a beautiful change of pace.

The illustrations are really unique, too, although I'm not sure how appealing they would be to little kids. The pictures are all painted onto wood, and then aged to look like they've been battered around for a few decades. I don't think I've ever seen illustrations in a children's book quite like this before.

This is a lovely picture book that might appeal to kids (as well as their parents) who love camping and the outdoors.

Quotable moment:

We sat on a log by the shore,
sipping hot chocolate
from warm mugs,
listening to the laughter of a loon
calling out from the mist.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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