In the Red Canoe, by Leslie Davidson (2016)

Picture Book
In the Red Canoe by Leslie DavidsonWhat a delight it is for me to review this book, though long overdue, I’m embarrassed to admit! Leslie Davidson is a beloved elementary teacher who lived in Grand Forks B.C., where we moved just a few weeks ago. In fact, her home is the one we now call ours. She is so well known that when people here ask where I bought, I simply say “Leslie and Lincoln’s house,” and everyone knows it. This book was published in October, and as we were busy preparing for our move I’ve only now had a chance to buy myself a copy and read it. Beautifully illustrated by Laura Bifano, In the Red Canoe describes a young girl and her grandfather sharing delights and discoveries of nature as they paddle a lake. Davidson uses a four-line rhyming scheme (abcb) that begs to be read aloud: “We find a place to hunt for frogs, a secret, muddy beach. How do they always know to stay just one hop out of reach?” The full-bleed, painterly illustrations of gouache are lush and detailed. Adults can expect young readers’ fingers to explore and linger on the pages when lapsharing, as the story dips below the water and high in the sky. I’m happy to report the illustrations are large enough for sharing at a group storytime. The text is easy to read, contrasting well on the pages. Printed by Orca Books, the endpapers look (to me) like a watercolour rendition of a night sky with stars just starting to appear. It’s delightful from start to finish.
More discussion and reviews of this picture book:


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