A writer (Let's Count It Out, Jesse Bear, 1996, etc.) and an artist who live in Alaska create a powerful and beautiful read-aloud set in their region. Raven ""swoops out of winter into spring,"" a sculptured black shape against the snow, to ""wake the sleeping River."" That refrain follows a red squirrel, ruffled grouse, wolf, snowshoe hare, bear, and beaver as each animal moves, in its way, into the spring: awakening, running, yowling. The River responds as the ice melts, and the final, gorgeous panel shows Raven above a free-flowing river and land touched with green. The richly painted acrylics delineate the animals and the Alaskan landscape, giving them character without any show of sentimentality. The text appears in a strong, elegant typeface on the full-page, full-bleed illustrations. A fine piece of natural history (an author's note is included) with a mythic edge.