'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Review: Rivertime

The cover of Rivertime promises pictures, but Rivertime is not a picture book. The first page offers facts and figures, but Rivertime is not boring. Instead, delightful comic strip style pages offer an easy-to-read fictional tale that could be true. Starting in the middle of life’s suburban busy-ness, Rivertime takes you, however reluctantly, on a slow-right-down summertime river journey.

Told from the first person’s perspective, you never learn the narrator’s name, but that’s okay. Instead, you get to share this young boy’s frustration at having to leave his techno toys behind and his irritation at not being able to sleep on hard ground. Rivertime has a hurried pace at first, but as the young guide learns to relax, the pages landscapes spread out, long and languorous, just like a relaxing Summer’s day.

Rivertime is an adventure from beginning to end. Not everyone gets to stop a brown snake from boarding their boat, learns how to light a fire or makes chapattis for breakfast. It’s exciting to find so many things to do on a do-nothing holiday.

With each read, Trace Bella’s gorgeous illustrations reveal more creatures and quirks of nature, but there’s more. This inviting tale for developing readers and anyone who loves nature, holds a magic secret I’ve rarely experienced before. While I was tense from a busy day’s work at the beginning of the book, I found the pages began to turn more slowly. By the end of Rivertime, my shoulders had released and my mind had slowed. As I paddled with this boy and his Uncle, I discovered the slow and steady rhythm of the river.

Rivertime: a precious gift for all ages.

There are teachers' notes available for this book.

Title: Rivertime
Author/Illustrator: Trace Bella
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2014
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781743316337
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book, Junior Fiction