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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Song of the River by Joy Cowley

A child follows a river’s journey from its source in the mountains all the way to the sea. The river leads the little boy through forest, farms and towns to the salty wind of the sea.

The story was originally published 25 years ago and Kimberley Andrews was chosen to bring it to life for a new generation with fresh illustrations.

Andrews, the author the beautiful book Puffin the Architect, has breathed new life into the story and created a masterpiece.

Author Joy Cowley herself has said of the finished result, that Andrews has created a river story in art. “I love the book. Song of the River is beautiful, solid, (and) dignified”.

Andrews is a trained biologist and geologist who grew up in the Canadian Rockies. Her love of the outdoors and deep knowledge of the natural world is to the fore in Song of the River.

Changing perspectives amongst the pages are subtle, yet very clever. One moment you are soaring above the treetops and clouds, while the next you’re in the river with a school of trout.

The end pages of the book show the journey of the river from bird’s eye view. The expansive map makes for lots of the discussions and questions with younger readers.

Andrews perfectly captures the gentleness of the story, with muted, natural colourings and strong detail. It is Andrews’s illustrations that urge you to linger on each page, soaking in the beauty of our world.

The power of the story is also honoured, and the book will implore children to explore their wilderness.

A lovely reissue of a beloved story, Song of the River, is a gorgeous story made even more beautiful by powerful illustrations.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Gecko Press, RRP $29.99


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