Home » Book » THE RAFT by Jim LaMarche

THE RAFT by Jim LaMarche


I am drawn to books with art that just sidles up alongside the words, blending the tale into a visual feast as well as an auricular feast.  The Raft is just that … a fine story and wonderful art.

Nicky has to spend the summer with his grandmother, an artist living on a river.  Nicky is not happy about having to be there away from his father.  But he has no choice.  He does chores for his grandmother and then begrudgingly heads off to fish or do some activity that she has set up for him.  Before long, a raft comes to him on the river, and thus begins the summer of adventures for Nicky,  He finds new worlds in nature, in art, in his grandmother.  It’s an especially fine story based on various real-life experiences of Mr. LaMarche’s boyhood.  He then gives them back to us in The Raft.  The drawings are soft and detailed of life on the river, Nicky up close and far off on the raft, animals drawn so beautifully real.  They are done in a soft mixed-media paintings and are worth the slow reread just to look at every bird and fox and raccoon.

Awards for The Raft

  • Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature
  • Texas Bluebonnet Award 2002-2003 finalist
  • An IRA Teachers’ Choice
  • IRA/CBC Teachers’ Choice
Reading Level: 4 – 8 Years

Jim LaMarche wrote and illustrated The Raft. He also illustrated Little Oh and The Rainbabies, both by Laura Krauss Melmed.  He lives in Santa Cruz, California.
His biography is @ HarperCollins:

Mr. LaMarche ends with: “I feel very lucky to have ended up as an illustrator of children’s books. And maybe that isn’t so different from my childhood dream of being a magician after all. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with nothing up my sleeves, I get to create something that was never there before.”

Book Information:

  • ISBN-13: 9780064438568
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: May 28, 2002
  • Edition: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.09 (d)

Original review by me August, 2013


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