cover image River Story

River Story

Meredith Hooper. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0792-0

A luscious blend of cool blues and verdant greens lights up the pages of this poetic picture book, which traces the course of a river from its source in the mountains to the sea. Hooper's (The Pebble in My Pocket) lyrical use of language emulates the rhythms of the river. Beginning with the languid, soothing sounds of alliteration (""a small shining stream slipping over pebbles""), the narrative picks up the pace as the river gains momentum at a waterfall (""snowfalls of water,/ springfuls of water,/ streamfuls of water""), then quiets down as it leaves the mountains (""It winds between meadows, long strands of waterweed streaking its surface"") before its final arrival where ""waves wash sand, and fresh water meets salt water."" Willey (The Golden Hoard) adds a good measure of child appeal. For a spread that allows readers to peek beneath the water's surface, ""little fish darting, bottles dropped, treasures lost,"" she shows a beloved toy airplane beached on the river bottom. Her palette and line seem especially suited for these riverside views, from the slender reeds of a cattail to a sandpiper's beak to the water itself, as it gushes and crashes, ripples and flows downriver. Ages 5-8. (June)