The River

a powerful book about feelings

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Pub Date 4 May 2022 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2022
Simon and Schuster UK Children's, Simon & Schuster Children's UK

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An exquisite, thought-provoking book to help children understand the idea of ever-changing emotions.
Rowan loves the river; it’s just like he is. On some days, it’s quiet and calm, on others it’s light and playful, and then there are the days when it roars along, wild and angry. But when Rowan goes through a particularly difficult winter, the river freezes – just like Rowan. Can Rowan find a way to release his frozen feelings, and allow the river to flow freely once more?
The wise and reassuring new picture book from the creator of The Invisible and Ruby's Worry.

Other books by Tom Percival:

The Sea Saw
The Invisible
An exquisite, thought-provoking book to help children understand the idea of ever-changing emotions.
Rowan loves the river; it’s just like he is. On some days, it’s quiet and calm, on others it’s...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781471191329
PRICE US$11.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 26 members

Featured Reviews

Another gorgeous book from Tom Percival. The way we see the river relating to how Rowan sees his emotions - always changing & sometimes unpredictable. Rowan's distraction with the bird was a great way to shift his focus & divert his energy & really see how he can help.

Tom's illustrations are always gorgeous & this one is another collection of lovely details to talk about. Love it.

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A beautiful portrayal of the emotional rollercoaster that is life, reflected in the changing tempo of a river.

The cascades, slow meanders and deep winters of the water follow one boy's trials, triumphs and traumas as he makes a journey of healing.

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This is a gorgeous book. It tells the story of Rowan, a little boy who lives near the river and plays nearby with his dog.
The story uses the changes in the river as a way to illustrate the different emotions experienced by Rowan.
The illustrations are beautiful.
Will definitely be purchasing this clever picture book.

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The River by Tom Percival cleverly uses the image of the river to talk about a little boy’s emotions. Just like the river, Rowan has days when he feels wild and angry, and others when he is calm or playful. In a beautiful metaphor for grief, one particularly difficult and cold winter sees the river freeze over, as Rowan has to deal with the death of his dog. It takes time and a new focus for him to overcome his grief, and for the river to finally thaw.

The story, told in simple language, is an exquisite symbiosis of images and words. The illustrations are stunning and capture the imagination. This book is a beautiful story, which can be used as an opener for those all-important discussions about emotions. I’ll definitely be adding a hardcopy to our library!

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The River by Tom Percival
Published by ‎Simon & Schuster Children's UK
The gorgeous scenery of the river throughout the seasons runs parallel to Rowans feelings, a young boy who can be quiet and calm or light and playful. But it is the river that Rowan loves and how it changes highlights how our behaviour and feelings can change too. A delightful picture book by the amazing Tom Percival who shares the right message that it is ok to feel different. A must have to share with all ages to keep the conversation of “it’s good to talk about our feelings” prominent in our classrooms & at home.
Joanne Bardgett - Year 3 teacher, lover of children’s literature.

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Clever and told with great simplicity, this little read is about a lad called Rowan, and the river that flows past his home. He and it have the same kind of temperament – but one bad winter Rowan and the river both freeze up – and they stay like that for months. The very fact they actually share their nature, in this circumstance, is quite a magical thing for a young reader to consider, and the book actually manages to be about mental health issues, and self-help messages, without ever seeming to be anything other than a story about a boy, a waterway and – well, that would be telling. Visually, the artwork is stunning when allowed to use the full double-page spread format, but even when reduced to smaller cameos it is still quite marvellous. Rowan cannot see the way to turn the corner out of his bad patch; I cannot see a book like this being done better.

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A beautiful little book exploring the different emotions that rowan goes through. I love the message that it’s ok to go through the different emotions and that ok because your still you.

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A lovely illustrated story about a boy struggling to mange his emotions. How he feels translates into how the river in his town behaves and the pictures and words show how he and it changes over time.

Would be a fantastic book to use to explore how our feelings change and how our behaviour can impact on those around us. Lots to explore in the pictures and lots to discuss together. Definitely one to add to the school library shelves!

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The latest book release from the wonderfully talented Tom Percival blew me away when I read the eARC copy from NetGalley.

I adore Tom’s books and this one is something very special. It deals with the loss of a pet in the most delicate way.

It lets children know it’s ok to have different feelings and uses the analogy of the river to mirror the boys emotions and show that how we feel changes, ebbing and flowing like the water.

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With beautiful, watercolour-esq illustrations full of realistic details that make you want to reread the book time and again, The River by Tom Percival would be a wonderful addition to any primary teacher's library. Addressing the topic of grief (loss of a pet) and using the changing nature of a river as a metaphor for the many different emotions experienced by the little boy in the story, this picture book is suitable for children of all ages (5+). An excellent resource for exploring rich descriptive language, this book could easily be used as a starting point for lessons on river habitats, as an introduction to discussing how people cope with tragedy in their lives and much more. I can definitely see myself using this book in many different ways in my classroom.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The River is beautiful and poignant. Rowan loves the river. As we progress through the book we are able to identify many feelings and emotions that we may have through the river’s portrayal. Calm, wild or angry for example. After a harsh winter, the frozen river is not able to flow; just as emotions are at times supressed during life events. This book will be a huge asset to my library; I cannot wait to share it with colleagues and children at school. Thank you, Tom Percival, for creating this thought provoking, important book.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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As usual Tom Percival manages to gently tackle tricky subjects and experiences for children. With all the empathy that is needed this book shows a child dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one (a pet in this case) and how over time their loved one isn’t forgotten but that they can be happy without them.

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Oh wow. Tom Percival books always leave you just a little teary, but also hugged from the inside out. River is no exception.
This book has many depths, pun not intended, and offers both, reassurance to a child healing from emotional trauma, and insight for children whose parents may be struggling with mental health issues.

This book shows that kindness extends to helping others and nature, and that by engaging in acts of kindness, we can free up emotions that become ‘frozen’. The story also offers lots of reassurance to anyone going through a prolonged spell of uncomfortable motions, as just like the river, nothing remains static or unchanged.

The illustrations are stunning and correspond beautifully to the accompanying emotions. The river is given such detail and attention that it seamlessly exists s as one of the main characters in the story.

I have my very own nature loving Rowen, who is soothed by both the river estuary we live by and the sea that surrounds our little town. I’ll be purchasing my own copy of this book as it’s poignant and meaningful.

This review is provided in exchange for a free digital copy of the book.

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As always, Tom Percival hits his reader with the most beautiful theme, words and illustrations. I had a lump in my throat from the start of this story. Such a wonderfully written book, that I will be using with my children to help with their feelings. Gorgeous.

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