cover image WHITE WATER


Aaron London, Jonathan London, , illus. by Jill Kastner. . Viking, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-89286-0

Writing with son Aaron, London (previously paired with Kastner for The Waterfall) delivers a splash-filled account of a river-rafting adventure. The excursion begins in Utah, where the boy narrator and his father join a group of rafters on a weeklong trip down the Green River. At first the boy feels scared, but he takes in the sights—wild horses ("you could see their muscles bulging as they grazed") and high canyon walls ("reddish-gold in the setting sun")—and thrills to the sound of the roaring white water. As time rolls on, vacationers bond around campfire meals prepared by Wild Man Dennis, the group's assigned cook, and the boy remarks on how much he is enjoying himself. Most successful here are the passages about navigating the rough rapids, which the Londons describe with heart-pounding excitement. But some overlong, snaking sentences and a lack of informational detail detract from the whole story. Kastner's oil paintings capture a spectrum of color and action—bright rafts and gear bobbing on the greenish river water, frothy spray and rough waves jumping like "thousands of white rabbits." The shifting light and resultant changing hues of the canyon walls and sky overhead create a sense of river travel likely to leave young readers eager to have a go of their own. Ages 4-8. (May)