Picture Book Review: The Raft by Jim LaMarche

Looking for your next read? Check out The Raft by Jim LaMarche, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Kevin B.

Jim LaMarche is an author and illustrator of children’s books from Santa Cruz, California. While more acclaimed for his illustrations, in The Raft, LaMarche manages to perfectly marry a captivating story with his vibrant art style. Although The Raft is technically a picture book, it is far from a quick read, especially when you factor in the time to soak in the details of the artwork. Most kids should relate to the main character Nicky’s reluctance to stay the summer at Grandma’s without other kids around or even a television. Yet slowly the reader is introduced to Grandma and her “river rat” ways, the freedom by which she lives her life, and the river and raft that become sources of freedom and growth for Nicky. Nicky’s narrations of his daily river adventures enable the reader to better connect with his moods and each beautiful picture helps bring the river, various animals, and scenery to life.

The Raft is one of the best books I’ve used to keep younger reluctant readers excited and challenged during reading sessions. Many picture books can be hit or miss in this department as they often don’t have the page or word count to stretch those just developing a desire to read. The book’s great illustrations and extensive vocabulary easily incite discussions about ideas beyond the text as well as words unfamiliar to the listener.

Choose The Raft and set a young reader adrift into an adventurous story of a boy learning to better connect with his grandma and the river life she loves.

Check out The Raft from your branch's shelves with your library card today!

The Raft

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