Posted in Early Reader, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Follow a fish’s journey to the sea in The River

the_river_cover_croppedThe River: An Epic Journey to the Sea, by Patricia Hegarty/Illustrated by Hanako Clulow (March 2016, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-61067-468-3

Recommended for ages 3-6

A little fish begins her journey in the snowcapped mountains, traveling downriver and passing through forests, past animals going about their days and nights, until finally reaching the sea in this rhyming tale with a little something extra to capture little eyes and minds: the book is die-cut, with a lenticular window that gives the illusion of a three-dimensional swimming fish!

Beautifully illustrated by Hanako Clulow, each spread depicts a different scene in nature, progressing through the seasons as the fish makes her journey. We see the wildlife, weather, and surroundings change, and the gentle, rhyming text sets the reader in each location; whether watching geese fly overhead, beavers scamper, and an owl, hooting softly in the moonlight. The moving fish is a constant, ever swimming toward her destination.

The pages are sturdy and will hold up to multiple readings, which is a good thing – I’m pretty sure this book will demand it! This book has entered my 3 year old’s regular rotation, and we’re at the point where he now “makes the fish swim” by holding the book as I read. I’ll be bringing this to my toddler storytime this Thursday, where I’m sure it will get rave reviews: anything to hold their attention!

I love this book and would love to see more in a series for little ones. It’s a great way to introduce nature and nonfiction in a fun, interactive way. I am a little worried about how this would hold up in circulation, because of the die-cut and the lenticular fish, because the kids at my library are very enthusiastic readers. That said, I’m going to give it a shot and order a couple of copies to test the waters. I think it will be a great read-aloud for my class visits, too; the teachers I’ve seen lately have asked for more nonfiction books during the read-aloud portion of the visit, and I think this would be a fun, educational read for the Kindergarteners.

Enjoy the book trailer for The River, and consider adding this one to your collections.

Illustrator Hanako Clulow’s webpage has more of her illustrations, links to her Etsy shop, and a cover reveal for her upcoming book, “Above and Below”.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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