A River written and illustrated by Marc Martin
Out now from Chronicle Books; 44 pages
Author Bio: “Marc Martin is an illustrator, artist and book maker based in Melbourne, Australia. His illustrations have been commissioned by clients such as Monocle, Wired, T2, The Financial Review, GQ, Luxury Travel, Telstra, The Australian Open Tennis Championships, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and various publishers. He is the author and illustrator of A Forest (Penguin Random House, 2012), The Curious Explorers Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals A-Z (Penguin Random House, 2013), Max (Penguin Random House, 2014), A River (Penguin Random House, 2015), and LOTS (Penguin Random House, 2016).” (Bio taken from author website)
A River follows a young girl with an imagination bigger than the city she lives in. Beautiful illustrations tell the story of a child as she turns the river running through her home into a magical world. Floating through different spaces, she ultimately discovers that inspiration lies not only in the outside world but within her very own bedroom, too.
This story took me back to the early aughts when my mother would read to me before bedtime. A River is similar in style to children’s classics like The Rainbow Fish, and this made the story feel like a warm hug long overdue. Marc Martin has an art style that evokes nostalgia with every turn of the page. Words in this tale are scarce, but frankly not even needed, as I was so taken with Martin’s illustrations and the lovely world he takes us through on the little silver sailboat. I tend to gravitate towards fantastical stories, but I am reminded of the joy that can be found in the day to day. Martin’s book is not strictly magical; there are no dragons, mermaids, or ghosts. Yet, his story of a girl sailing on a river through her home provides just as much sparkle as any fantasy world could. The sweeping skyscrapers, rolling hills, and expansive ocean in Martin’s illustrations seem to hide exciting secrets of their own. It feels like I could also unlock these small mysteries in life, if only I cared to look.
PRR Assistant Director, Sophie Applin