cover image On the Riverbank

On the Riverbank

Charles Temple. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-395-61591-1

A long-awaited outing to the banks of a local river becomes a memorable family event in Temple's first picture book. Daddy and Mama bring along a picnic basket and all the gear needed for an evening of catfishing. The young narrator and his father rig up hooks on a trot line with ``chicken guts, / fish guts, / any guts will do'' and while they wait for nibbles, Daddy tells ``all the tales he remembers'' around the campfire. ``A nice haul'' of ``five catfish flapping on the shore'' caps an already perfect excursion. Temple's bouncy, toe-tapping rhythm and visually rich phrases energize a brief but detail-laden story in which each stanza amusingly advances the plot. Hall's rustic-looking, mixed- media paintings call to mind colored woodblock prints. Her cool palette of blues, purples and shimmering whites winningly matches the story's setting of a June night steeped in moonglow. All will surely rise to this enticing picture-book bait. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)