Book Review, Picture Books

The River by Tom Percival

The movement of the river, the changing of the seasons and the details of the beautiful setting lay the foundations for this powerful story about friendship, grief and healing.

Rowan loves to play by the river with his fun-loving dog. The emotions of the river echo the emotions of the boy – light and joyful then wild, angry and icy. Rowan’s dog dies, leaving him alone. Nothing is able to thaw the cold (in the river or his heart). Finally, spring arrives. Rowan helps a bird and, with someone to care for, the ice finally begins to melt.

This powerful story encourages children to embrace a range of emotions and understand how natural they are. The river is always changing, just like Rowan – just like every reader who struggles with the ups and down of life.

Recently, I read Song of the River by Gill Lewis. Published by Barrington Stoke, it is a fantastic middle grade companion for The River. Exploring similar themes and metaphors, it is another wonderful story encouraging children to be honest about their emotions and find healing in nature.

Thank you to NetGalleyUK and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK for this beautiful book!

Also by Tom Percival:

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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