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The Secret River

February 18, 2011

The Secret River
written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011
picture book (56 pages)

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote the Pulitzer Prize book, The Yearling. This shorter story, The Secret River, was first published in 1956 and won the Newbery Award. Now, it’s been reissued with full-page acrylic paintings from Leo and Diane Rawlings. It’s a beautiful magical-realism story of a young girl’s journey to help her family.

Calpurnia and her dog, Buggy-Horse, decide to help the hard times by finding fish for her dad to sell. First, she makes pretty paper flowers to entice the fish to bite. Then, she asksĀ Mother Albirtha, the wise women, where to find fish.

Calpurnia sets off into the dark forest, following Mother Albirtha’s advice, where she eventually finds fish and other animals, too. How will she carry the fish back to her home? Or even find her home again? She gets lost and scared but never gives up.

The Secret River is a beautiful story with exquisite illustrations that captures the depression in the southern United States through the hope of a child.

Also, even though it’s a picture book, it’s not meant for young readers as it’s quite long.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 19, 2011 6:12 pm

    This looks beautiful!

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