Rumie Goes Rafting

Owlkids. Apr. 2024. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771476355.
PreS-Gr 1–Rumie, a gray and white handmade felt creature, tows a button-wheeled wagon through the forest, collecting string, pinecones, bread tabs, and other odd treasures. Rumie is eager for an adventure, but the stream is too low to sail on Uncle Hawthorne’s boat. Inspired to build a raft instead, Rumie and Uncle Hawthorne gather twigs, birch bark, and colorful ribbon to construct an impressive raft. Uncle Hawthorne warns that the raft requires a safety test before they embark the following day. Rumie is awake with anticipation through the night, as a rainstorm rages outside of the snug burrow. At sunrise, Uncle Hawthorne snoozes as Rumie impatiently scurries to the now much higher stream, the raft beckoning. Rumie opts to test the raft and a strong current suddenly sweeps the craft downstream toward a waterfall. Despite a predictable story and a few moments of disjointed narrative progression, Marentette’s debut picture book is playful, with charming photographed illustrations of realistic dioramas created with natural materials and found objects. Readers will linger over the cozy handicrafts of Rumie and Uncle Hawthorne’s home: miniature quilts, punched tin lanterns, metal bottle cap stools, and champagne cork cage tables. Fans of Nancy Rose’s scenes in “The Secret Life of Squirrels” series will be drawn to Marentette’s intricate displays, regardless of the story.
VERDICT This is not an essential purchase, but it’s suitable for modeling and inspiring imaginative play, as well as ideas for those dreamy readers who like to insert themselves into every scene.

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