A River by Marc Martin is a poetical invitation to escape the daily urban reality and rediscover primordial nature

Marc Martin, A River

Printed 2015 by Viking Penguin, 36p


Marc Martin is an Australian illustrator and author of several books that celebrate the beauty of nature and life. His latest book, A River, is a visual delectation, a meticulously designed book that overlaps the flow of a river on the flow of existence, inviting readers to recapture the beauty and the simplicity of life.


A little girl interrupts her drawing at the table by gazing out of her window.

There is a river outside my window. From where I sit, I can see it stretching into the distance in both directions. Sometimes I imagine myself floating along the river, swept away in a silver boat towards the horizon.

Soon the girl becomes the narrator of a beautiful journey along the river. Escaping the busyness of the city and leaving behind the dark factories with their smoke rising into the sky, she explores farmlands, hills, valleys and mountains, the jungle and the mangroves until she reaches the ocean.


The illustrations are impressive; there is an abundance of details on each page that have both contemplative and introspective consequences. The admiration of the landscapes with their diverse flora and fauna is strongly connected to the reality of the urban existence, insisting on the greyness of the city versus the richness and greenness of nature.



Complement this beautiful journey with Isabel Minhós Martins’ Coming and Going or with Briony May Smith’s Imelda & the Goblin King, a story that reminds us that the forest is for everybody.


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