ALONG THE RIVER by Vanina Starkoff
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by translated by
Age Range: 4 & up
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A visual metaphor for life’s journey presents a sunny, hopeful vision of both self-determination and community in this Brazilian import.

While some readers may encounter it as a straightforward picture-book depiction of many people floating along a river in a variety of boats and other watercraft, there’s ample potential for reading symbolic meaning into words and pictures. Simple phrases are juxtaposed with the vibrant acrylic illustrations (finished digitally) that show everyone traveling left to right with the page turns on calm waters that are the intense yellow of the sun. Boats, clothing, and other items are rendered in bright colors associated with the Caribbean, and most of the people have brown skin, with some sporting dreadlocks, others wearing head wraps, and still others with full, round Afro hairstyles. In an unusual choice for a picture book, most of the people are adults. Scattered environmental text painted on the boats (“Beautiful Smile”; “Everything is good here”; “I am happy”) reads like affirmations, while the main text provides gentle advice about living a good life: “You will have to search for… // …your own way / and your own rhythm… // …while continuing to steer your course.” This would make a refreshing alternative to Oh, the Places You’ll Go as a perennial gift to graduates.

A feel-good journey of a picture book. (Picture book. 4-adult)

Pub Date: April 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-55498-977-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2017


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