Title: The Raft
Author/Illustrator: Jim LaMarche
Date/Publisher: 2000, Harper Collins Publishers
Nicky isn’t happy about spending the summer with his grandmother. Even if she’s not a ‘normal’ grandma, Nicky isn’t looking forward to the summer.
Nicky discovers a raft covered with animal drawings. Grandma joins Nicky on many of his rafting journeys. After spending the night in a tent on the raft, Nicky has the urge to start drawing the many animals he watches every day. He finds that he shares his Grandmothers love for the flowing water teeming with wildlife.
When Nicky saves a fawn from its muddy entrapment, he adds the fawn’s picture onto the ageing boards of the raft. Grandma helps him make the drawing permanent with oil paints, as the bonds between the two are cemented.
The illustrations by the author are a magnificent complement to the heartwarming story. Colorful, realistic and full of detail, the artwork in the pages are a masterpiece on their own merit.