Reviews /

Song of the River

Authored by Joy Cowley
Illustrated by Kimberly Andrews
Published by Gecko Press

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Song of the River tells the story of a mountain boy called Cam who wishes he could see the sea. One snowy Spring morning he hears the water singing to him ‘Come with me. Come with me. I will take you to the sea.’ Cam follows the melting snow down the mountain side as a stream then a river, until the water eventually leads him to the sea.

This is a lovely story book which explores the different forms that water can take, as it moves through the landscape using carefully chosen poetic language. The voice of the water reflects the place on that journey; for example the river singing ‘in the voice of leaping trouts’ and in the ‘voice of salty wind and crying birds and deep secret places where whales swim with their young.’ These vivid descriptions really help support the constant changing of the water and shine out when the book is read aloud. There is a circular arc to the story which makes a satisfying read and brings the action back to the beginning of the narrative. As I read, it reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak where the boy goes on a journey and then returns home where nothing seems to have changed.

The accompanying illustrations are beautiful and throughout the book give different viewpoints of the water, sometimes seen from above, sometimes alongside. My favourite illustration is the one where the viewpoint is at the bottom of the river amongst the frogs, looking up at Cam.

This is a lovely class book to read aloud and to explore the formation of rivers, different types of industry as well as journeys. It captures the excitement of seeing the sea for the first time and going on an adventure. I would recommend Song of the River as part of a collection if exploring water and rivers as well as having it on the class book shelf.