River Friendly, River Wild

by Jane Kurtz and Neil Brennan

This cycle of poems with a young girl as speaker chronicles what happens to her family... read more

This cycle of poems with a young girl as speaker chronicles what happens to her family and her community when the river near her North Dakota home floods. Author Jane Kurtz wrote the poems in the aftermath of her own family’s displacement after the Red River near her home in Grand Forks, North Dakota, flooded in 1997. The poems cover little more than a month. A blizzard strikes, the snows melt, the river floods the town, and the girl’s family must flee. Eventually they return to a house with no electricity, no water, and a missing, beloved cat. Some neighbors have lost everything. The poems are true to a child’s perspective on events that turn her life and her neighborhood upside down, only to be righted again with the help of a supportive community. Subdued oil paintings, some framed on a single page, others spanning a two-page spread, capture the drama and the enormity of her experiences, as well as the small details that take on more meaning than ever before in the child’s life. (Ages 5-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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