Cover image for Rock river
Rock river
Maynard, Bill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam, [1998]

Physical Description:
104 pages ; 22 cm
Twelve-year-old Luke's summertime adventures along the river are haunted by the memory of his older brother Robert, who died being a daredevil in the same place a year and a half earlier.
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X Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area

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Luke's brother Robert always took chances on the river. He would jump the fastest current or climb the steepest boulder while Luke and his friends watched from shore. But ever since one of those stunts led to to Robert's death, nothing has been the same. Luke's parents can't seem to get along, they constantly warn him to be careful, and Luke's friend Milo is now the one being a daredevil -- and he challenges Luke to be the same.

With river adventures full of action Bill Maynard makes his readers question how courage is proven.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thinly drawn characterizations and a strong moralistic tone mar the intensity of this outdoor adventure story starring a cautious fifth-grader. Since his "daredevil" brother drowned in the river outside the family's summer cabin, Luke is more than a little hesitant to take chances in the water (jumping rocks across the rapids) or on land (walking through a bull's pasture), even when he is egged on by his buddies, Milo and Charlie, and his rivals, the Perkins sisters. A fishing competition between the boys and the girls seems like a harmless enough endeavor, but danger erupts when Milo, eager to snag the largest bass, enters dangerously high waters aboard a homemade raft. Predictably, Luke saves his pal's life, proving to himself and to his peers that he is a hero instead of a coward. The book's message, neatly summarized by Luke's father ("Taking chances to show off is foolish. Taking a chance to save a friend's life is not. It's brave"), overshadows some interesting, but underdeveloped strains of the novel, including Luke's relationship with his overanxious mother and his lingering grief over the loss of his older brother. Maynard's (Incredible Ned) unadorned writing style is best suited for those readers on the lower end of the target audience who crave excitement and expect happy endings. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Luke, 11, and his family always spend summers at their camp in the country. Along with his friend Milo and Milo's younger brother, he explores the area, enjoys barbecues and ghost stories, and fishes. Luke constantly thinks about his older brother, Robert, a daredevil who fell into the river and drowned last spring. Unlike Robert, Luke does not take foolish risks; Milo, on the other hand, seems to have learned nothing from Robert's carelessness and constantly tries to prove his own fearlessness. In an effort to win a bet over who will catch the largest bass before the end of the summer, Milo recklessly sets off on a homemade raft while the river is rising during a rainstorm. He crashes on a rock just upstream from dangerous rapids. Luke learns that Milo cannot swim, bravely saves his friend, and discovers that he has the courage and wisdom to take necessary risks in life. Through his first-person narration, Luke shares his thoughts, fears, and secrets with readers. As in Susan Katz's Snowdrops for Cousin Ruth (S & S, 1998), the deceased sibling is a strong presence who is revealed only through the memories of the characters. An examination of courage and fortitude, Rock River shows how children cope and continue after the death of a loved one.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.