The River

The River


Written and illustrated by Alessandro Sanna
Translated by Michael Reynolds

Surprising, original, and gorgeous, The River is a book about the seasons and the different kinds of experiences and stories that each season brings. Consisting almost entirely of images, The River presents each of the four seasons as its own chapter and story. Beginning in autumn and ending in summer, the book is about our connection to place, as well as about the connections between geography, setting, and the stories we tell. It is also about the flow of time, which flows like the river, and carries us.

Alessandro Sanna and his work are renowned throughout Italy and this book, which will fascinate young and old alike, demonstrates why.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-149-0
8.5" (W) x 11.2" (H) • 110 pages • HC

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★ "Along the lines of Blexbolex's Seasons (2010), an immersive visual experience that richly rewards patient attention." — STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

"Italian illustrator Alessandro Sanna exposes the remarkable sensitivity that gossamer connection between between the physicality of the land and our transcendent experience of the passage of time, the inner seasonality of being human. Through his soft watercolors shines the immutable light of existence. ... Glowing with quiet optimism, Sanna's vibrant, expressive illustrations whisper to us that, despite its occasional cruelties, life is mostly joyful, radiant, and, above all, ever-flowing." ―Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"Italian illustrator Sanna paints hundreds of watercolors of the country's Po River, arranging the thin, wide panoramas on the pages like photos in an album. Wordless stories, one for each season, are prefaced by passages of lyrical prose. ... The myriad images of the Po in rain, sun, at dusk and dawn give readers a deeper sense of its allure." —Publishers Weekly

"Sanna's watercolors rise to meet each illustrative challenge, sometimes subdued in washes of gray and russet, sometimes bristling with crisp edges, and occasionally drifting into the whimsical with the flip of a dancer's braids or the roaring face of an escaped tiger. The result is a volume of gorgeous art... The River is a love letter and a fantasy, a chronicle and an introspection. It will remind you of home on the Bosque and take you somewhere else entirely." —Lisa Barrow, Alibi

"Travel through four seasons along the Po River in this breathtakingly beautiful book. Made almost entirely of watercolor images shown as either full-page or a series of panels, this book asks readers to pay close attention to the images and discover the story told there. Each season starts with a brief paragraph that offers clues to what is going to happen. Autumn is a season of floods. Winter is described as warm, which will surprise many young readers as will the newborn calf.  Spring is music and white clouds. Summer is dry and hot. Each of those seasons is brought to life with the watercolor images with palettes that change through the seasons, purples in autumn, blues in winter, gold in summer. Each more beautiful than the last, so that you just want to begin it again when it ends. … Beautiful, moving and vast, this nearly wordless picture book will be enjoyed by elementary aged children through adults." —Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

"Alessandro Sanna eloquently depicts the passing of time and what the seasons bring in a story about the people and life in and around the river. It might be worth it to buy The River for his skies alone—saturated, dramatic, wispy, rich with movement, and in every shade of every color imaginable. They run the gamut of emotions and play a part in telling the story of our connection to the place where we live."—Michelle Sterling, Avery and Augustine

"You cannot help but pay close attention to get the full meaning of every piece of the visual narrative. Autumn brings flooding. Winter is much warmer than what we would expect. Spring is as spring is everywhere—full of sunshine and new life, and music. Summer brings searing heat, and some discomfort.  As the seasons give over one to the other, so do the colors used to bring each season to glorious life for those who share this remarkable book. I guarantee that once you have made your way slowly through its pages, you will be inclined to start all over again. Do! It is so worth it. ... Virtually wordless, it is quickly evident that the gorgeous artwork speaks for itself, captures attention fully and might even inspire readers to take a close look at their own environs and to try to capture life as it happens in their own neighborhood. It is a sketchbook for an artist, a seasonal journal for a writer and a worthy addition to any collection." —Sal's Fiction Addiction


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