WILLOW ON THE RIVER by Camilla Ashforth


Age Range: 3 - 7
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Willow is “the gentlest bear you ever will meet” in these lovely and dulcet picture books. He lives where Paradise Fields meet the river at the foot of Appleby Downs, and the misty, delicate images are painted in watercolor, pencil, and nostalgia. In the first, Willow decides he must spend the day on the river. After he does all his work on the farm: feeding some of the animals, gathering others, moving the sheep to the meadow, he takes a picnic and meets Finley, another bear. They sing and play and eat, and then Willow goes home to say goodnight to all the animals. In Willow by the Sea, Willow dreams of Salt Cottage, his house in the dunes, and decides to go there for a holiday. He takes all his farm animals with him: horse and sheep, cows, chickens, and geese, and Little Pink Pig. The cows gaze into pools, the horse chases waves, Little Pink Pig and Willow build sandcastles. And Willow sings golden-shore and silver-sand songs before they all settle in for the night. Pig and Willow are obviously anthropomorphic, while the rest of the animals behave pretty much like themselves—during the picnic, for example, Willow and Pig sit at a makeshift table, while the other animals eat their hay, corn, and apples from the ground. Children—and adults reading to them—will be seduced at once if they are in the mood for a bit of sweetness and light. (Picture books. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-1088-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002