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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Boy and the River (The)
by Henri Bosco
Age Range: 9-11
Pascalet lives with his parents and aunt in the French countryside. He is fascinated by the wide river located nearby but his parents have forbidden him to go there because of the possible danger. Bargadot, a local poacher, often tells him about the secrets if the river, about the fish and lonely islands which makes Pascalet even more determined to explore the area where he has been forbidden to go. Despite the warning from his parents Pascalet leaves the peace and security of his home and seeks adventure beyond the fields where he encounters Gatzo, a boy of his own age, who is being held captive on one of the river islands. Luckily Pascalet is able to rescue his new friend and together they explore the river and its surroundings.
This tale by French writer Henri Bosco (1888-1976), originally published in 1945, is one of adventure and friendship. Narrated in the first person by the main protagonist it catches the magic of discovering nature and also some melancholic views of childhood. Bosco was a well-known and respected French author who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature four times.
This English edition of The Boy and the River was translated by Gerard Hopkins and accompanied by enchanting and evocative black and white line drawings by Lynton Lamb.