There are no fish left in the rivers and streams; hard times have come to the forest, and everyone is poor and hungry. Gr 3-5a€“Rawlings penned what she called a a€?childa€™s storya€? in 1947 to accompany paintings by Robert Camp. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953) is the celebrated American author of The Yearling, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939.
Read the latest teen books for free and more on Riveted, where YA Fiction is Our Addiction! Get book club recommendations, access to more 1,000 reading group guides, author updates, and more! Get relationship help, parenting advice, healthy recipes, and tips for living a happy life from our author experts. Get access to the best in romance: free reads, specially priced offers, and exclusive content! A depression era story that is just as timely as it is enchanting, this is a stunning picture book for the ages.
Found in her papers after her death, The Secret River was finally published in 1955; it posthumously received a 1956 Newbery Honor.
Calpurnia's father's fish-selling business is failing, so she goes to Madame Albirtha, "the wisest person in the forest," for advice. Mother Albirtha, the wisewoman, advises her to follow her nose to a secret river teeming with fish.

Originally illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, the 55-page story followed young Calpurnia and her ever-constant puppy, Buggy-horse, on a self-determined expedition to a€?turn hard times into soft times.a€? Spurred on by Mother Albirtha, a wise woman of the forest, the girl and her dog find a fish-filled river and, with the help of a red boat and the pink paper roses tied to Calpurniaa€™s pigtails, bring in a giant catch and cleverly devise a way to get the fish back home. She finds this amazing river and politely asks the fishesa€™ permission to catch some of them.
With her little dog Buggy Horse and a tip from old Mother Albirtha, the wisest person in the forest, Calpurnia finds a secret river and uses the pink paper roses from her hair to catch enough beautiful catfish to feed the whole swamp land —with some left over for Daddy to sell. Sensitive, cheerful, and full of courage, Calpurnia survives every threat, brings home her prize, feeds the town--and discovers an unexpected facet of Madame Albirtha's wisdom.
On her long journey home she shares her catch with several animals and, of course, Mother Albirtha. Illuminated by the Dillonsa€™ exquisite artwork, the tale accentuates the enchantment of Calpurniaa€™s journey. Mesmerizing patterns and colors distinguish the Dillons' spreads, which balance large, captivating panels with smaller vignettes clustered around the text.
Father sells the fish for promises of payment, which are all fulfilled, and soft times come to the entire community.
Brilliantly composed images, where the young girla€™s face is at times superimposed over objects in the story or seemingly floats over the magical river, have a lustrous glow. Beautiful in all ways that a book can be beautiful, this unforgettable picture book is a classic in the making. Their acrylics are a foray into magical realism (when Calpurnia invents a poem about befriending bees, her hair becomes a tangle of purple flowers thick with the insects), and their portraits are always true to Rawlings's imaginings.

In this reworking of a classic tale, Rawlingsa€™ voice is warm and tender, employing lilting syntax and descriptive language that resonates with warmth and humor.
Imagined in striking scenes, Calpurnia and Buggy-horsea€™s encounters with an owl, a bear, and a panther effectively capture the Florida back country that Rawlings famously drew upon in her writings. At the breakfast table, Calpurniaa€™s father says hard times have come, especially for poor people. Calpurnia is a sweet delight, at once poet and adventuress, whimsical and practical, filled with love and compassion. The Dillonsa€™ glorious, glowing earth-toned acrylic illustrations capture Calpurniaa€™s spirit and soul and imbue the tale with images that are nothing short of breathtaking. Overriding the adventure is the determination and spirited effort of the child to help her family in need.
So with the advice of a wise soothsayer, Mother Albirtha, Calpurnia dares to venture out into a dark forest and follows her nose to find a secret river, where she catches fish and brings them home.

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