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Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling
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Paddle-to-the-Sea (1941)

by Holling C. Holling

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1,096147,588 (4.41)8
  1. 00
    Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Both are long Hollings childrens book, of epic voyages and interesting characters.
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I found this book the day before Bay Books, an independent bookseller, closed its doors in Concord, California. Perhaps I should say that the book found me. Why would I buy a children's book? It must have been the local book dragon whispering in my ear, for I am grateful for this great find.

The author takes us on a trip that starts in the great northern wastes of Canada, and we follow the carved toy through the wilderness and down in to the Great Lakes of the States. Along the way, we find out what the inside of a sawmill looked like and how Lake Superior resembles a wolf's head. Yes, a wolf's head.

If the kids want to have more read to them, tell them to go to sleep so you can read the book yourself in peace and quiet. It was sad to see yet another local bookstore leave us, but it brought me great happiness with my last purchase.

Book Season = Autumn ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
Very old book, but a great "adventure" on the Great Lakes. I vaguely remember seeing a movie of it when I was in elementary school (I said it was old!). ( )
  sswright46168 | Aug 29, 2013 |
This was a truly unusual story but I really enjoyed it. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
In twenty-seven brief "chapters" - each of which consists of a single page of text, decorated with black and white illustrations, and paired with a full-page color painting - Holling Clancy Holling sets out the story of "Paddle-to-the-Sea," a miniature wooden canoe carved by a young Indian boy in Nipigon country, Canada, and then sent out on a long journey toward the sea. As the canoe travels on its way, it journeys through all five of the Great Lakes, with detours and unexpected stops along the way, passing through many hands, and experiencing many years of adventure before eventually finding its way out the St. Lawrence River, and eventually, into the open sea.

An unexpectedly moving book, Paddle-to-the-Sea is both educational and engrossing, taking young readers on a geographic tour of the Great Lakes region of North America, from the rural Canadian wilderness north of Lake Superior, through all the various interconnected waterways - Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Eerie, Ontario, and the rivers which connect them - and finally to the sea, while also presenting the many human activities, from farming to heavy industry, that surround these important bodies of water. Chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 1942, it has a great deal of visual appeal, particularly the full-color, full-page paintings. One especially nice detail is the comparison of the shape of each lake to some figure or object - I never noticed that Lake Superior looks like a wolf's head, Lake Michigan like a squash, or Lake Huron like a trapper with his pack upon his back!

I was a little afraid, going in, that the depiction of the Indian boy who created Paddle-to-the-Sea would be egregiously racist (as is so often the case, with vintage children's books including Native American themes), but although there is certainly an element of the "mystically spiritual Indian guide" in his depiction (and some rather choppy statements, that could be interpreted as stereotypical "Indian" speech), I think there is also just a healthy does of curious and creative boyhood in him. Fanciful though it may be, I found myself thinking, while reading this story, that the release of Paddle-to-the-Sea, and his subsequent journey, could be interpreted as a metaphor for our words and actions - how they go out into the world, and affect the people around us; and how, if crafted with care, they might do great things, and connect us to people far away.

It's that sense of connection, that Paddle-to-the-Sea brings, between disparate peoples in far-flung places, that most moved me in Holling's book, and led to my four-star rating. This is an advanced picture-book, so I would only recommend it to upper elementary school students and above, who are capable of reading more extended texts. I would also only recommend it with the caveat that the depiction of the Indian boy, although not egregiously offensive in my estimation, might still feel condescending to some, and be problematic for them. With that caveat understood, I'd say this makes a lovely introduction to the geography of the Great Lakes region, some fifty years ago, and still, to a great extend, today. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 20, 2013 |
This is a short imaginative historical fiction about a carved little man in a carved canoe. The young native American boy who carved the figure lived deep in the wilds of Canada and longed to follow the river out to the great ocean. He knew this was not practical so he carved the little man and canoe to take the journey in his place. This is the story of the journey of the little canoe and the people and people groups he met along the way. Great for teaching geography of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River waterway while also encompassing historical and cultural realities of the region. Entertaining journey.
1 vote SHeineke | Jun 12, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
A young American Indian boy (no tribe indicated) carves a small canoe with a seated figure to paddle it and sends the two off on a journey from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. … This is the story of Paddle-to-the-Sea's many adventures over the four years it takes him to reach the sea. No information on American Indians in contained in the story.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
John Henry Chapman with whose father I have paddled under, over, and through many a Great Lake wave.
First words
The Canadian wilderness was white with snow.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0395292034, Paperback)

A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A small canoe carved by an Indian boy makes a journey from Lake Superior all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

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