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Friday, November 10, 2017

me and you and the red canoe, written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Phil. Groundwood. 2017. $18.95 ages 5 and up

"We sat on a log
by the shore,
sipping hot chocolate
from warm mugs,
listening to the laughter
of a loon
calling out from the mist.
I carried our rods.
You carried the tackle
and bait."

What a lovely memory of a season just ended! Time at the lake is, for many, the ultimate getaway. Sharing this book will remind readers of the joys to be found in the natural world, and of an early morning spent on the lake fishing. There are wonders there: loons, a moose, a beaver, a squirrel, an eagle. This early morning paddle and leisurely wait for a fish to bite allows exploration of each memorable sight and sound.

Jean Pendziwol describes each tiny moment in poetry that will resonate with all readers. This book is a feast for the senses, meant to be quietly inspiring and am homage to the awesome beauty of its setting.

"You pointed out a nest
high atop a leafless birch,
and not far away
the white head
and dark body
and piercing yellow eyes
of the eagle.

We wondered how
all those twigs and sticks
and other bits
survived the wind and rain."

The many remarkable moments are captured with acrylic paint on panel boards. The full page spreads feature eloquent text facing textured, detailed images of the quiet Canadian lake environment. The red canoe captures attention and keeps all readers focused on its journey. Though we never see the faces of the two canoeists, we share their powerful connection to and their wonder at the morning's beauty.

"I sat in the bow,
my paddle dipping
in and out,
in and out,
in and out.

You sat in the stern,
your paddle keeping time,
the sunlight sparkling in our wake."

Absolutely wonderful!

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