Cover image for The call of the swamp
Title:
The call of the swamp
Author:
Calì, Davide, 1972- author.
Uniform Title:
Richiamo della palude. English
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, [2017]

©2017.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Summary:
"Boris, a swamp creature who was adopted by human parents, starts to question where he truly belongs"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802854865
Format :
Book

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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Boris is a normal kid: he goes to school and rides his bike and climbs trees, just like all the other children. It doesn't matter that he has scales and tentacles, or that his parents found him in a swamp when he was just a baby. But one day Boris catches the scent of his old home, and suddenly he's not quite sure where he belongs. He journeys to the swamp, filled with questions, and eventually discovers the only answer he needs.From the creators of The Queen of the Frogs comes an enchanting, nuanced story about adoption and family.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Boris doesn't look like his parents, a pair of humans who definitely don't have gills. Boris more closely resembles an axolotl, with frilled red appendages emerging from his pink, round face. But his parents love him regardless, and he's mostly happy. One day, though, he catches the smell of the swamp on the wind, and he realizes he doesn't quite belong in the human world, so he follows his nose back home. But is the swamp really home? Somà's delicate, fine-lined artwork, in an evocative blend of dusky blues, foggy grays, and warm natural hues, combines realistic renderings of birds, wildlife, and architecture with dreamlike images, like luminescent underwater flowers or Boris' house sitting atop tree branches and inside a giant bottle. The whimsical, otherworldly nature of the illustrations nicely matches Cali's fablelike text, particularly Boris, who manages to look very childlike despite his salamander head. The warm conclusion, that family is made up of people who love you, even if they don't look like you, is a cozy one ideal for kids who feel like outsiders.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In a moody exploration of belonging from the duo behind The Queen of the Frogs, a childless couple discovers an infant by the edge of a swamp. Ignoring that the baby "had gills like a fish," they name him Boris and raise him as their own. (Readers who know their aquatic animals will recognize that Boris is an axolotl.) Though Boris likes riding bikes and climbing trees like human children, he longs for something else: "He woke up in the dead of night, feeling like he was suffocating. And he was thirsty. Always thirsty." Somà's otherworldly artwork pays homage to Escher in his use of tessellation, metamorphosis, and encroaching foliage: autumn leaves morph into airborne fish as Boris catches a whiff of the "salty smell" of the swamp. Cali isn't afraid to ask big, philosophical questions, and although some of Boris's ruminations are spelled out a bit plainly ("His mom and dad had wanted him even though they didn't have gills.... Maybe our family is simply the ones we love? And the ones who love us back?") the story's fairy tale-like quality and melancholic images leave a haunting impression. Ages 4-9. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Readers will never encounter a more likable and endearing creature than this swamp baby. Neither had Boris's parents, who struggled with infertility and happened upon him during a remote drive. "When the couple found a newborn at the edge of the swamp, it seemed like a gift from heaven, and they paid no attention to the fact that he had gills like a fish." Boris's sinuous sea-fanlike hair and his mangrove in a jar don't hinder him from making friends, attending school, and doing other kid things. But the mangrove begins losing leaves and the scent of the swamp lures Boris. He begins asking questions like, "Why did you take me home, Mom?" and "Why didn't you leave me where I was?" A return to the swamp is predictable in a way that will make young children feel safe, but adventuresome at the same time. Boris eventually comes to the profound realization, "Maybe our family is simply the ones we love? And the ones who love us back?" Translated from Italian, Watkinson's work feels smooth and natural without any bumps or glitches. Somà brings rich golden and deep teal hues to to the gray-browns of the swamp. Muted earth tones feel magical rather than muddy. Parents will hold back the tears as mom and dad give Boris the space to discover his identity and little ones will relate to stretching one's wings and learning to make choices. VERDICT At home on the shelf with Suzanna Lopez's The Best Family in the World, Cali's tender text is an even more honest look at the real emotions of adoptees. Best shared one-on-one.-Kristy Kilfoyle, Canterbury School, Fort Myers, FL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.