Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A RIVER DREAM by Allen Say


illustrated by Allen Say

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
ISBN: 0395657490
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Ill with fever, Mark receives a gift from Uncle Scott: a box of trout flies. Opening it, he is transported to the river Where they had fished together, sees his uncle catch a fish and then free it, and does the same himself before returning home, fever-free. The quiet text here is pleasant enough, but unexceptional; the message that "it's good to leave the river the way [you find] it" is flawed: the joy of the catch is well known, but it is surely cruel to the fish to hook it merely for sport. Nonetheless, Say's watercolor illustrations are outstanding: spare interiors rendered into elegant patterns by light shining through windows, the play of late afternoon shadow on trees bordering the river, mayflies dancing like stars, the warm link between the boy and his uncle (orientals, incidentally), the drama of the catch. Reason enough for purchase; and the story may prompt thought among would-be fisher-people.