Even 60 years after her death, the only story that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings ever wrote specifically for children is as magical today as it was in the 1950’s. Published posthumously, The Secret River was awarded a Newberry Honor in 1956. I just came across an edition of The Secret River illustrated by the dynamic duo, two-time Caldecott Medalists, Leo and Diane Dillon and all I can say is WOW! This book is magic. The story alone would be golden, but enhanced with the images created by the Dillon’s it becomes something really, really special.
While probably best known for her Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Yearling, Ms. Rawlings, who lived most of her life in Florida is well known for chronicling life in the American South, especially the rural South.
The Secret River is a wonderful lyrical story of a little girl, Calpurnia, her dog, Buggy-horse, her parents. and the community they live in. One beautiful morning Calpurnia comes to the breakfast table to find that hard times have come to the forest community that they live in. This does not make her happy and she wants to help change the hard times back to soft times. She makes a plan, consults the wisest woman in the forest, Mother Albirtha and sets out with her trusty dog to find “the secret river” and hopefully the answer to her prayers. Adventure follows her as she “follows her nose” through the forest on her mission to help not only her family but also her community.
Pick up your own copy of The Secret River to find out what Calpurnia and Buggy-horse went to The Secret River in search of!