Have you read the picture book, The Raft, by Jim LaMarche? If so, don’t you love it? If not, then you must.
I love this book for so many reasons. The wanna-be artist in me is dazzled by the illustrations which are so realistic and so dreamlike at the same time. The aspiring writer in me is captivated by the story line of too-good-to-be-true turns in the tale as well as the vivid, realistic descriptions of place and time that make me feel like I am right there. The people-person in me loves the characters as if they were real friends that I know. If I ever have grandchildren, I have a role model in this book to follow.
I fell in love with this book all over again when our family purchased a small cabin by a lake. For a while I would imagine a raft floating to our dock just like in the book. I have a copy of the book there to read to those once and future grandchildren, too – just in case I ever get the chance.
Meanwhile, I chose this book for a read aloud to a fourth grade class at the beginning of the year. I used an anchor chart with it and we worked on the strategy of inferring. It was a well-received and successful lesson, but I felt a bit like the use of it in class took some of the magical quality away from it for me.
Then as I was leaving the room, one of those students that we all know and love came up to me. You know the type – the one in whom you see so much potential and yet you just can’t find the key to help him unlock what he has inside. The one who spends so much of his time avoiding work that you know if he would just do it he could excel in so many things. So he walks up to me with a new light in his eye and says, “Where do you get a book like that?”
And I knew that all the magic – and more – was still there.