Canoe Days

Canoe Days

by Gary Paulsen, Ruth Wright Paulsen
     
 

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Opening this book is like sitting down in a canoe, taking up a paddle, and gliding out into the summer beauty of a hidden lake. In this picture book that is as refreshing and inviting as a perfect canoe day, a fawn peeks out from the trees as ducklings fan out behind their mother. Butterflies pause and fish laze beneath the lily pads. Ruth Wright Paulsen’s

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Overview

Opening this book is like sitting down in a canoe, taking up a paddle, and gliding out into the summer beauty of a hidden lake. In this picture book that is as refreshing and inviting as a perfect canoe day, a fawn peeks out from the trees as ducklings fan out behind their mother. Butterflies pause and fish laze beneath the lily pads. Ruth Wright Paulsen’s sunlit paintings and Gary Paulsen’s poetic text capture all the peace and pleasure of a day when water and sky are one.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Succinct, poetic text and rich, textured paintings convey the beauty and wonder of a quiet canoe ride on a lazy summer day." — Booklist

"Young nature buffs are sure to appreciate this ode to life in the unspoiled wilderness; creative writing classes may find this a good model for descriptive writing as well." — Booklist

"Full of sunlight and clear water, this book is for winter dreaming and summer doing." — School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The prolific author of such titles as Hatchet and Soldier's Heart turns from adventure and high action to contemplative moments in this not particularly childlike mood piece. Describing a canoe trip around a lake, his prose poem homes in on quiet encounters with nature: "Sometimes when it is still," it begins, "so still you can hear the swish of a butterfly's wing--sometimes when it is that still I take the canoe out on the edge of the lake." The images pile up in long, leisurely sentences. The canoe "slides in green magic without a ripple"; the water "is a window into the skylake." Later, the narrator, a man, describes fish, ducks, fox, fawns and other wildlife. Unfortunately, Ruth Wright Paulsen (who previously collaborated with her husband on Dogteam) translates these idylls as static moments in her full-spread paintings. Her grainy oils are realistic but heavy, her fish and animals locked into place with none of the lightness or wonder of the text. The design features two unusual elements: a stylized typeface, imposed atop the paintings, is distracting, but the use of vertical borders in solid colors, alternately contrasting with or complementing the compositions, subtly draws attention to the artist's strong sense of color and helps to create a visual pacing. Even so, the pictures weigh down the text instead of advancing it. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-From the brilliant blue endpapers and lushly painted artwork to the lyrical words of the text, this book radiates the calmness of a summer day spent in a canoe. At first, the action seems slight-a man paddles around a lake-but as the words and pictures flow, the surrounding wildlife begins to reveal itself. Birds and insects skim the water, sunfish hover, and a pike shoots along, stopping all of the underwater action. Mallards swim by, foxes and raccoons come to the shoreline to drink, and a deer signals her fawn to come away. One of the qualities that moves this book beyond the ordinary nature description is the human figure, the observer, who sits with his paddle raised taking it all in. It is his thoughts that readers hear, and the rhythm of his language fluctuates as the scenes change. In the illustrations, the perspective is altered, looking from above, from a distance, or even under the water. Sometimes viewers see the man in the canoe, but at other times they seem to be looking through his eyes. The book is unified by glorious swathes of blue and green, and most of the paintings spread across double pages with bands of complementary colors running along the sides, both confining the pictures and adding a light touch. Full of sunlight and clear water, this book is for winter dreaming and summer doing.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Kirkus Reviews
The Paulsens' picture book offers a tranquil, meditative idyll that glides as easily as a canoe on still water. The beauty of a solitary day on a lake springs to life through poetic words and serene illustrations, which are appropriately hazy and luminous by turns. But while the protagonist lazily paddles and rests, the natural world bustles around him: fish dart and feed under water; animals bathe and hunt in the wood; birds and insects flit overhead. This observant and understated look into nature is both soothing and surprising. (Picture book. 4-7) .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440414414
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
314,605
Product dimensions:
10.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.15(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Gary Paulsen and painter Ruth Wright Paulsen have collaborated on many distinguished picture books, including Dogteam.

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