The Beginning of the River: Herman's Quest

John Drake, Author Little Turtle Press $16.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-9633574-0-3
At first glance, this collaboration promises much, with its whimsical, color-drenched illustrations and neatly executed layout and design. From the opening rhyming couplets, however, the brightness dulls--``There is a river that is not so far away, as you shall see. / In fact, you might even say it's a part of you and a part of me. / Some say the river flows here, some say it flows there, / and even others say it flows everywhere.'' For all of Herman the cat's searching, the river remains a mystery, though he gains ``true'' friendships in a string of imaginative characters. They, unfortunately, are barely sustained by a weak and diverted story filled with abstract axioms. Drake's unfocused tale is told in the voice of a juvenile who has not yet learned that particulars tell, and that every sentence must shoulder the story. The sporadic rhymes, frequently set against clouds of psycho-mystical fluff, often distract. Kortekaas's fun-loving illustrations, though amusing, do not save the book as a reading experience. Ages 5-9. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Children's
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