The eventful journey of a willow branch that is snapped from a tree in a storm. A dog finds it and takes it to his master, who throws it into a stream; it becomes part of a beaver's dam and later an osprey's nest before it washes up on land as a piece of driftwood, destined for use in a boy's mobile of found objects. The Bernhards (Reindeer, 1994, etc.) conclude with detailed instructions on how to make the mobile. A provocative philosophical point delivered poetically at the end--that the branch is ""always home . . . and always on its way""--highlights the monotony of the pages of description that precede it; the many incidents that alter the branch's path are laid out so matter-of-factly that they negate the lyricism of the conceit. Stylized gouache and colored pencil illustrations rely heavily on pinks and purples; the shapes are soft and flowing, with lighter lines defining the flow of water, air currents, fish scales, animal fur, and more. The overall effect is serene but cool, distancing even to those who appreciate the idea behind the book.