by Elisha Cooper (Author) Elisha Cooper (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Caldecott Honor winner Elisha Cooper invites readers to grab their oars and board a canoe down a river exploration filled with adventure and beauty.

A breathtaking adventure as a traveler and her canoe begin their trek down the Hudson River.

In a mountain lake, the canoe gently enters the water's edge, paddling toward the river. The nautical journey begins. She is alone, far from home.

Three hundred miles stretch in front of her. A faraway destination, a wild plan. And the question: can she do this? In Cooper's flowing prose and stunning watercolor scenes, readers can follow along the trek as the woman and her canoe explore the wildlife, flora and fauna, and urban landscape at the river's edge. Through perilous weather and river rushes, the canoe and her captain survive and maneuver their way down the river back home.

River is an outstanding introduction to seeing the world through the eyes of a young explorer and a great picture book for the STEAM curriculum. Maps and information about the Hudson River and famous landmarks are included in the back of the book.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 3–Cooper loves to take children on experiential journeys, which he did so expertly in titles such as Train, Farm, and Beach. This time the excursion is on a mighty river—the Hudson—and the conveyance is a canoe. The book opens with a woman—the solo traveler—waving goodbye to her family and setting off from the headwaters of the river in the Adironacks on a 300-mile trek to New York Harbor. Such an ambitious outing takes extensive training and careful planning, but this woman is up to the task and there’s no better way of appreciating the river ecosystem than this kind of up-close and intensely personal observation. Cooper captures it all in his gloriously expansive and fluid pencil and watercolor artwork in vignettes and full-bleed spreads. The woman’s days consist largely of “paddling, sketching, eating, camping, and paddling again.” She spots a variety of wildlife—moose, otters, mergansers, eagles, seals—crashes through a series of rapids, portages around a dam, and follows the locks at a waterfall. With each day’s progress downriver, the countryside shifts from farmland to villages and larger towns. The woman has to think fast, takes her lumps in a squall, and paddles on until she reaches the city, and reunites with her family. Beyond her bragging rights, she has exhilarating stories to share and fond memories to hold onto, until her next adventure.VERDICT A marvelous vehicle for nature lovers, armchair travelers, and aspiring boaters and explorers.--Luann Toth, School Library Journal

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Elisha Cooper
Elisha Cooper is the 2018 Caldecott Honor-winning artist of Big Cat, Little Cat, published by Roaring Brook Press. He is the author/illustrator of many other books for young readers including Train, Farm, Beach, 8: An Animal Alphabet, and River. He lives with his family and two cats in New York City.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2019
Age Range
4 - 8 years

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