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CBC Showcase:
Kumak’s River
Ages 4-8
Illustrated by: Michael Bania
ISBN: 9780882408873
Price: $9.99
Published by: Graphic Arts Books

Kumak’s River

by Michael Bania
“As Bania explains in a note, the annual breakup of river ice in Alaska is cause for celebration, even when a particular year’s ice build-up and weather cause rampant flooding.
In this not-so-tall tale, when “chunks of ice as big as houses” jam on their passage to the sea, Kumak and his neighbors perch on their roofs in the warm spring air while, hour by hour, the river water rises around their houses.
Children rejoice in a school-free day, while Kumak fends off ice with a pole. Still the river “went wherever it wanted to go. And it did whatever it wanted to do,” sweeping away dogs tethered in boats, oil drums, fish nets, and toys until at last the jam bursts, the river returns to its bed, and people are free to seek and find (the tall-tale part) their belongings and to anticipate their summer relationshipe with the life-sustaining stream – fishing, boating, and the vital annual trek to summer camp.
The cheery line and watercolor vistas of smiling Inupiat, dogs, and gulls enjoying their adventure amid pounding ice and deep blue water are a fine match for the well-paced text. For anyone in the lower forty-eight who has suffered from extreme weather and its consequences, the depiction of people thriving in harmony with a natural environment that both challenges and sustains them offers plenty of room for discussion.” HORN BOOK”

“In the far north, family bonds remain strong, even if visits are an adventure in themselves. KUMAK’S RIVER: A Tall Tale from the Far North is a children’s picturebook from Michael Bania as he tells the story of Kumak and his journeys to visit his family as he lives in the far north. As the river’s ice breaks and flows away, he usually visits his family, but when the ice breaks and jams the river, trouble may come for Kumak and the village. KUMAK’S RIVER is an excellent read for youth picturebook collections, highly recommended.” THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW–James Cox”

“The cheery line and watercolor vistas of smiling Inupiat, dogs, and gulls enjoying their adventure amid pounding ice and deep blue water are a fine match for the well-paced text. For anyone in the lower forty-eight who has suffered from extreme weather and its consequences, the depiction of people thriving in harmony with a natural environment that both challenges and sustains them offers plenty of room for discussion.”
–Joanna Rudge Long, “Horn Book Magazine”

“The story is told in spare yet rhythmic prose, with the repeated refrain of “”Just in time!”” adding structure. . . The line and watercolor art is jaunty and appealing, with teeming vignettes of people and stuff contrasting with the wide open skies and broad blue river. A float-ringed thumbnail “”window”” cleverly provides an ongoing dog-cam that follows the exploits of the drifting dogs as the family waits for the waters to subside. With a style that’s suitable for reading alone or reading aloud one on one, this is an unusual adventure that will intrigue many young residents of the lower 48.”
—“Deborah Stevenson, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Vol. 66. No. 2, October 2012”
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