Brunet Island State Park = Read to Lead

Brunet Island State Park, on the Chippewa and Fisher rivers, offers more than 1,300 acres of scenic beauty, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Quiet lagoons and channels are excellent for canoeing and wildlife watching. The landscape in Chippewa County is a product of the most recent Ice Age. The rolling terrain carries a wide variety of forest types and is home to a multitude of wildlife.*

Brunet Island State Park
The park is named for Jean Brunet, who was born in France in 1791 of nobility and came to America in 1818 and settled in St. Louis. Called a man of “considerable note” he served as an officer in the U.S. Army and participated in the building of Fort Crawford. Later he moved to Prairie Du Chien and then, in 1828, to present-day Chippewa Falls.

Brunet was directly responsible for establishing the first dam and sawmill in Chippewa Falls in 1836. The mill quickly opened this area of the Chippewa Valley to an expanding lumber trade. He piloted the first raft of lumber produced at his new mill down the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers to Prairie Du Chien.

The Read to Lead book for the 2nd week in April is "The Raft" by Jim LaMarche.

Imagine passing a summer drifting up and down a slow-moving river, watching as cranes, turtles, raccoons, otters, and ducks grow accustomed to your presence. Envision days spent poling the raft through lily pads and grasses, glimpsing foxes through the trees on shore. On hot, sticky nights, picture a tent set up on the raft, from which you have an unobstructed view of huge bucks drinking from the moonlit river. Nicky has no idea what he's getting into when his father drops him off for the summer at his grandmother's cottage in the woods. And he's not especially pleased at the prospect. "There's nobody to play with ... She doesn't even have a TV." But this "river rat" is not the normal kind of grandma. Without pushing, she quietly allows Nicky to discover for himself the wonders of river life. Gradually, Nicky's interest in drawing the wildlife he sees brings him closer to his artist grandmother, and to an inner peace that looks as though it will last for a lifetime.

Jim LaMarche draws on his own childhood summer experiences for this lovely, serene story. As the light and weather change through the summer, the river reflects all the beauty of the season.

One book reviewer wrote: "My 5 year old son loved this book. We enjoyed reading it together. It allowed him to feel like he was on an adventure. He related to the boy in the book. Even though it takes place in Wisconsin, it applies to anywhere a boy can use his imagination. We both looked forward to seeing what was going to happen next. This book has become his favorite."

Read To Lead
The Wisconsin State Park System is teaming up with the Read to Lead program to encourage kids and families to read everywhere—including in the outdoors! Kids, if you are 5 to 9 years old and read 20 or more books, you can enter your name in a drawing for a Kindle Fire and other prizes.Here's what you need to do.
  • Print out the Read to Lead checklist
  • Visit the state parks listed to find the books, or check them out anytime from a library. Some State Parks will have special programs to go along with their book. Visit Wisconsin State Parks to learn more about the parks and events.
  • Read (or have someone read to you) 20 or more books. Check them off on the list. 
  • Have your parent or guardian sign and send the form to the address on the checklist and you will be entered in the drawing for a Kindle Fire.