|Brunet Island State Park|
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.
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