Seen from a distance, a woman in a canoe waves goodbye to people on the shore and sets out on a journey: “Three hundred miles stretch in front of her.” She’s paddling the Hudson River from the Adirondacks to the Atlantic Ocean. Sweeping pencil-and-watercolor layers trace rocks crowding the river and clouds crossing the sky. The woman’s solitude is underscored in lyrical prose: “There is nothing in the world but her, the bird, this place. No one knows where she is.” Cooper (Big Cat, Little Cat) makes the difficulties of the expedition clear: “She staggers—the canoe balancing on her shoulders—down the steep gravel path next to the dam. She trips, drops the canoe.” When she reaches the city, lively scenes greet her as all kinds of traffic plies the waters around Manhattan. As she completes the last, most dangerous part of the voyage out to the Atlantic, readers share in the paddler’s satisfaction. The woman changes during her journey, and the Hudson does, too, growing from mountain cataract to mighty waterway. An author’s note fills in a bit about the river’s history, but in this expansive, beautifully rendered offering, the attention is all on the voyage and the moments, tender and tense, that comprise it. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
"This stunningly illustrated account of a woman's solo canoe trip down the Hudson is a remarkable example of the art of the picture book... Cooper's oversize gem is for the ages, and for people of all ages." -- The New York Times* "At the conclusion of this beautiful book, readers will feel they have traveled a journey themselves... Expansive content impressively and beautifully presented." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Evocative... An author's note, sources, and information about the river round out this beautiful book." -- Booklist, starred review* "Cooper's quiet, fluid present-tense prose is perfectly suited to the rhythm of a river... Let the armchair travel commence!" -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review* "Cooper's watercolor and pencil sketches [illuminate] the details of the trip with a rhythmic mix of vignettes and wide landscapes." -- The Horn Book, starred review* "Gloriously expansive and fluid pencil and watercolor artwork... A marvelous vehicle for nature lovers, armchair travelers, and aspiring boaters and explorers." -- School Library Journal, starred review* "Expansive [and] beautifully rendered." -- Publishers Weekly, starred reviewPraise for Big Cat, Little Cat:A Caldecott Honor Book* "With quiet grace, Cooper delivers the message that love persists through loss." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review* "Cooper's gentle tale of the loss of a feline friend is perfect bibliotherapy for those who have lost a loved pet." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Kids won't have to be cat lovers to find this endearing and quietly reassuring, while young cat owners will want to tell the tale of their own feline friends." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review* "A gentle, loving look at the life cycle of pets; young readers will be able to gain confidence in retelling the story using the text and the pictures." -- School Library Journal, starred review* "Cooper's thick black lines produce figures full of kinetic energy and personality. The circular nature of the story is beautifully reinforced by the repetition in both art and text, and the result is at once realistic and comforting." -- The Horn Book, starred reviewPraise for 8: An Animal Alphabet:* "Cooper's loose watercolor images are arranged harmoniously against spacious white backgrounds... The heavy paper will withstand repeated viewings, which are guaranteed. Don't get behind the eight ball: order now; it's great fun." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "It's a feast of fauna!" -- Booklist, starred review* "Illustrated with joy, this is an alphabet book to pore over, worth adding to any collection." -- School Library Journal, starred review* "A skillfull blending of counting and matching elements into an animal-themed abecedary." -- Publishers Weekly, starred reviewPraise for Train:* "A poetic, beautifully conceived book." -- Booklist, starred review* "The loose watercolor-and-pencil artwork hums with activity and energy." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review* "Cooper's signature sun-bleached watercolors beautifully convey human achievements and nature's grandeur through both detail and a range of scale." -- Publishers Weekly, starred reviewPraise for Farm:* "It's as thorough and pleasing an introduction to a farm as one could ask of a picture book." -- The Horn Book Magazine, starred review* "The graceful text and serenely stunning illustrations create a portrait both reverent and realistic." -- Publishers Weekly, starred reviewPraise for Beach:Society of Illustrators Gold Medal (2006)"Cooper's portrayal of a day at the shore is generous with such minutiae; his fondness for his subject is evident and infectious." -- School Library Journal
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
A woman travels the length of the Hudson River by canoe in Cooper's (Train, 2013) latest, a 12-inch-square picture book.
"Morning, a mountain lake. A traveler, a canoe." Cooper's text is spare in style yet detailed and lengthy: Paragraphs on each spread compete with pencil-and-watercolor illustrations that alternate among double-page panoramic landscapes of impressive views, smaller scenes against white space, and miniature vignettes of the faceless traveler in motion. The 300-mile solo journey itself begins with a question: "Can she do this?" A rock rises out of the water—no, "a moose." There are rapids to brave, thunder, cold, a bear cub to avoid, a dam around which to portage (such vocabulary is made clear in context), and many more challenges to face. There are also the peaceful joys of "paddling, sketching, eating, camping, paddling again," friendly faces at stops along the way, and the assurance that "she is strong, and she knows what she's doing." The myriad details about the journey will interest slightly older, outdoorsy children interested in adventure and travel. At the conclusion of this beautiful book, when the water-weary traveler ends her journey in the arms of her loved ones, ready to turn her sketches and words into paintings and a story, readers will feel they have traveled a journey themselves, and they just may wonder if they would ever have the strength, endurance, bravery and know-how to undertake such an endeavor themselves.
Expansive content impressively and beautifully presented. (author's note, note on the Hudson River, sources, further reading, map) (Picture book. 6-12)