What is a River? – written and illustrated by Monika Vaicenaviciene


   What is a River? – written and illustrated by Monika Vaicenaviciene, Enchanted Lion Books, 9781592702794, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Rivers only make up a tiny fraction of Earth’s water – “less than a tablespoon compared to a bathtub”.  Yet, they embroider our world together and provide connections and inspiration. The young narrator is on the banks of a river, weaving a wreath, and she asks her grandmother about the importance of rivers. The story shifts from narrative to expository as we learn myriad wonders and facts about rivers: from the journeys they take, the shelter they provide for their inhabitants, the refreshment they offer to their people, to the history and connections they weave. Each two-page spread delves into a new concept wrapped in award-winning illustrations that draw the reader in, page after page. As the story winds to a close, the narrator floats her wreath downstream as she realizes her river is a story without an ending.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? The story is beautifully written, but perhaps too rich and complex to be tackled in one sitting as a read-aloud. It would be perfect to accompany a study of landforms and bodies of water and provide rich facts for a discussion of the importance of keeping our planet’s water supply healthy. Eager readers will enjoy poring over the illustrations and diagrams.

Who should buy this book? Elementary, middle school, and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? 551.483

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA 

Date of review: 4/14/2021

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