Fish and herons, turtles and dragonflies, beaver lodges and lily pads, a multitude of wonders enchant the child-narrator, her loving grandpa and any other nature lovers along for the ride in this tender, beautifully illustrated picture book. Baby ducklings ride their mama’s back; an osprey rises with a silver fish clutched in her talons; a loon cries in a star-flecked night. Rhythmic, rhyming quatrains carry the story forward in clean paddle strokes of evocative imagery.
Davidson and Bifano make their picture book debuts with a quiet account of a girl's day on the lake with her grandfather. The girl narrates in sturdy rhyming verse ("We don't say much we mostly look./ He shows me everything./ The watery world goes sliding by./ Our paddles dip and swing"), describing their run-ins with beavers, "schools of fishy fry," ducklings with legs like motorboats, and other creatures. Bifano portrays the girl as a tomboyish type, eager to chase frogs down a "secret, muddy beach," but also content to rest against Grandpa's knees as swallows dart overhead. Painted in gouache, the scenes have the feeling of stills taken from a lushly rendered animated film, and Bifano pays careful attention to the changing quality of the light as day gives way to evening. For his part, Grandpa remains a silent, almost stoic presence, but Bifano's paintings give him a kindness that's cemented in a closing scene of him carrying the sleeping girl to their lakeside cabin beneath a starry sky. A warm story of intergenerational companionship and nature's everyday delights. Ages 4 8.