The Raft

Author and Illustrator:  Jim LaMarche

Unknown-1 Ask any young boy just how he’d like to spend his summer and most likely his last response would be, “out in the country with his grandma who doesn’t even have a TV.” Well, that’s what happened to Nicky.   He is not impressed with Grandma’s house, full to the brim with books scattered everywhere, animal sketches, stuffed fish, fishing poles, tackle boxes, and even a half-finished carving of a bear.

After two days of futilely trying to catch fish for supper, Nicky was pretty discouraged.  And then he noticed it; “Though it was covered with leaves and branches, now I could tell that it was a raft.”  Nicky is fascinated by the array of animal drawings sketched on the raft and wonders who could have drawn them.  Instead of his days being filled with the boredom of trying to catch fish, the raft has now provided him with adventure on the river.   He races to complete his chores in order to explore.  Some days Grandma joins him and he learns the stories of her years on the river.  Sometimes they just float and watch for animals in the woods, sometimes “Grandma watched from an inner tube, I practiced my cannonballs.”  It isn’t long until Nicky is sketching raccoons, turtles, deer, and even a great blue heron that whooshed right down on his raft with a crayfish in its bill!  And guess where Nicky is sketching all those animals!

Mary Byrne Kline
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1.  How would you explain how the first drawings got on the raft?

2.  Why do you think the doe trusted Nicky to help her fawn?

3.  How did the change happen in Nicky’s attitude over the summer?

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