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4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,944 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published February 19th 1980 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 9th 1940)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
"I am Paddle to the sea, please put me back in the water..."

This is another book I remember reading over and over. I can still picture some of the wonderful illustrations in my mind from this book. The cute little hand carved canoe on it's own adventure. It makes a strong case for taking care of the environment, beautiful pictures, and a wonderful "message in a bottle" type story-line.

I can see the little canoe and it's totem paddler stuck in the log about to get cut at the saw mill when the Lum
Jan 30, 2014 GoldGato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, autumn
I found this book the day before Bay Books, an independent bookseller, closed its doors in Concord, California. Perhaps I should say that the book found me. Why would I buy a children's book? It must have been the local book dragon whispering in my ear, for I am grateful for this great find.

The author takes us on a trip that starts in the great northern wastes of Canada, and we follow the carved toy through the wilderness and down in to the Great Lakes of the States. Along the way, we find out
Apr 14, 2009 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Canadian Indian boy carves a small wooden canoe with a little figure in it, named Paddle-to-the-Sea. He places it on top of a snow-laden hill, and leaves. Soon the snow starts melting and Paddle starts on his voyage. He slides into a brook, leading to Lake Superior, and from there to the other Great Lakes.

This book is halfway between a regular picture book and an illustrated book. Each left-hand page is filled with text, a chapter, describing a stage of the voyage. These text pages are illuminat
**** Caldecott Honor (1942) ****

I really enjoyed this story of a carved indian canoe making a journey from the Upper Great Lakes of Canada all the way to Atlantic Ocean and beyond. The color images are spectacular, and it's fun finding the canoe, named "Paddle-To-The Sea" in each picture. Not so great are the black & white images, which can be difficult to decipher, but are nonetheless interesting. Some have referenced the use of the word "injun" as a problem, but really it is not used derog
Feb 23, 2014 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book to my seven and nine year old, and everyone enjoyed it. Most of the books that I have read to my children are ones that I remember enjoying from when I was younger, but this was my first time reading this wonderful story. We did not read it all at once, we only read one or two pages a day, but every day they were begging me to read more. No one was allowed to read a head but I could see both of my older children itching to pick it up and look through it. Now that we have finishe ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Ardith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My all-time favorite book from childhood. For years after reading it, I made plans for setting free little boats on various rivers. One idea was to attach a radio transmitter so I'd know one day my boat actually made it to the ocean. It hasn't happened yet...but I still dream...
I had never heard of this book before reading it for my Caldecott Challenge, but I'm glad I did. This is definitely one of the longest Caldecott books I've ever read, so long they don't even put it in the picture book children's section of the library (it was in fiction). It won a 1942 Caldecott Honor. While I wasn't really a fan of the color illustrations (with the exception of the cover page and the two-page map journey in the back of the book), I loved the black and white ones because they we ...more
David Anthony
Feb 14, 2011 David Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holling C. Holling’s 1941 book Paddle-to-the-Sea was the first grand adventure story I read as a child. Not that I read it in 1941. I’m not that old. I read it in the 70′s. Nevertheless, decades later, I’ve not forgotten it or the sense of wonder it instilled in me. I still love adventure stories today. They never get old.

The book follows the journey of Paddle, a 12-inch, handmade pine canoe complete with a wooden Native American pilot, as it travels from Lake Nipigon, Canada all the way to the
Ann Moody
May 20, 2012 Ann Moody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time childhood favorites. A Native American boy's spirit of adventure and exploration is embodied in a beautifully carved bit of the North Woods. It is easy to identify with Paddle as he journeys through waters calm and fierce, to route for him to triumph against the odds and meet his goal of reaching the sea.

The book succeeds primarily because of the Caldecott Honor illustrations. The lead character is a piece of wood, lovingly transformed into a tiny Native American sailo
Hester Rathbone
Jul 29, 2012 Hester Rathbone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I borrowed this from Kristin and really loved it, even though it took me forever to get really and truly into it. I kept trying to read it right before bedtime, which didn't work in my favour. Something about the writing style just had a soporific effect on my already weary mind. I sat down to read this on Friday and made it through, all in one go. I love the writing style, love the little comments in the margins and all of the helpful maps and diagrams throughout.

One of the things I love about
Nov 04, 2014 Krissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caleb
This book is amazing! The pictures are great and the story is an adventure. I liked to look at the map after each chapter and follow his path. ~ Caleb
Jul 13, 2014 Kami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this to my 7, 6, and 4 year old. They all loved it. Which actually surprised me, because I thought with how long it was and the descriptions of a sawmill, locks, etc, they might get bored, as they normally do in non-fiction books (it almost reads like non-fiction at times). But no, they were fascinated. I enjoyed it too, although it's a bit long and we had to read it over two nights, and isn't the typical adventure/fairy tale that I usually like to read to my kids. Some reviews said it wa ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Lorna rated it liked it
1942 Caldecott Honor

Favorite illustration: The large map showing Paddle's journey.

Favorite line: "You will go with the water and you will have adventures that I would like to have." --Chapter 2

Kid-appeal: An interesting story, but it is very long and does contained dated references to Indians as Injuns. I was surprised to hear my neighbor's 5th grade class recently used it in her Waldorf classroom. Could see multi-subject uses for the book with math, language arts and social studies.
May 08, 2015 Kimberlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE, Young and Old!
LOVE LOVE LOVE! I had no idea this book would be such a treasure! The story was interesting, exciting, educational (shhhh), and just downright fun to read! My 5th grader and I would easily trade off reading the one page chapters back and forth to each other.

Since we live in Texas and have no experience with the Great Lakes area, this was thoroughly intriguing to us. We "explored" with Paddle-to-the-Sea along his adventure. The story gave many opportunities for my son to pick out figurative lang
Erik Akre
Mar 06, 2016 Erik Akre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ecology-minded young adults or full adults; much less for younger children
This book was read to me when I was a young child. My rating is from memory, although I still own the book. I think that almost all of my interest in it was based on the pictures, which really are incredible, in true Holling style. I believe this is his most famous book, and I can see why. It is the epic journey of our hero, the little canoe, but also of water itself.

The lower rating is from the subtle distance from it that I felt as a young child, from the story and its minute detail. It loses
Angie Libert
May 14, 2014: I am looking forward to reading more of his books! The author has found a very creative and enjoyable way to explore geography and nature.

September 27, 2015: Still an excellent book, this time around. We love HC Holling's work!
Jun 01, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gorgeous story. I love reading it to my boys and the history and geography of the Great Lakes is only a bonus.
Jon Abbott
I can't think of a book I enjoyed more than Paddle to the Sea as a young reader. Not because of the complexity of the story; Treasure Island or Dr. Doolittle had it beat. Because of the fantastic illustrations, full of details to find, and maps. MAPS! Almost every two-pages had a small inset hand-drawn map, complete with more details and nuggets about Paddle's trip.

I'm currently purchasing a hardback copy for my assistant's granddaughter. I just hope a eager young reader (female) will enjoy it
Sarah Ritchick
Feb 11, 2016 Sarah Ritchick marked it as to-read
Standard: Grade 3. RL.3.7. Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

Description: A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle's journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region.

Genre: Fiction

Awards: Caldecott H
Kem White
Mar 19, 2016 Kem White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Paddle-to-the-Sea" by Holling Clancy Holling was my favorite book as a boy. Holling tells of the journey of a small carved indian sitting in a canoe. Paddle travels from his home on Lake Nipigon north of Lake Superior, through the Great Lakes, till he reaches the sea. As a child, I marveled at the idea of that small carving traveling all those miles. I yearned for the day I could journey, too. The story is simply told and beautifully illustrated. This is a wonderful children's book that does a ...more
Aug 08, 2015 Alysia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-youth
This book was recommended to us by our cousin, a children's librarian. This book is an interesting way to learn about all of the Great Lakes and what types of people and industries are near the Great Lakes. I only give this book 2 out of 5 stars because I and my children just didn't find the storyline all that interesting. However, I am not sure that younger children would have understood the plot enough to get much out of the book either.

Written in the 1940s, this book has wonderful illustrati
Becky B
A young Native American makes a wooden canoe with a man in it. Underneath he inscribes that its name is Paddle-to-the-Sea and asks any finders to help it on its way to the sea from its starting point in Lake Superior. Over the course of the next three years readers follow Paddle-to-the-Sea on its adventures through the Great Lakes and eventually out to the Atlantic.

I remember having this book read to me as a child. I believe my mom read it in part to teach us about water flow patterns, which se
In this picture book, the story is told of a carved Indian in a canoe traveling through the Great Lakes on his way to the sea. Throughout its travels, people carve the locations passed through into the bottom of the canoe, and it is discussed in newspapers everywhere.
I read this book with the knowledge that it is used in the classroom for 5th grade in order to teach kids about the great lakes, and it would fulfill that purpose very well. Illustrations of each lake are detailed but simple enough
Feb 05, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
49 months - I really enjoyed reading this with my daughter. I was expecting it to be about a real person paddling the Great Lakes but this idea is much more creative. A great geography lesson and lots of other learning too. Great vocabulary about nature. It would be fantastic to have a newer version of this book with more vivid colors in the illustrations. The art style is very much Group of Seven-esque. A good story to introduce my little dual citizen to natural connection and resources the two ...more
Jan 23, 2014 Beverly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-nonfiction
This wordy picture book is a good introduction to the Great Lakes region of the US/Canada, especially for those who live far from this area. Each page of text has black and white drawings in the borders, and the facing realistic painting is in full color (watercolors, I think). The author/illustrator includes several technical drawings, such as how logs move through the saw mill, how the ship locks work, and a diagram of a freighter. He also includes small maps of Paddle-to-the-Seas journey thro ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, travel
Fascinating journey of a little wooden boat made by a Native American that flows through the entire Great lakes and ultimately is taken to France. Along the way you learn about things like lumber mills, ships, towns, etc. But especially you learn the geography along with some fun paintings. Good children's book for teaching about the Great Lakes. Originally written in the 40's.
May 26, 2016 polly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this book as part of our first grade curriculum, but I think that was too ambitious. It's much better suited to a middle-to-late elementary school student. My son recently picked it up again because he's into boats (he's almost 9) and was quite engrossed in the illustrations and the story....whereas a few years ago, it was a much harder read for him. I love Holling!
This was perhaps my favorite book for several years in my childhood, not because of the story, but because of the excellent illustrations and the to-die-for hand drawn maps with their own text and details. I loved maps and still do, and Paddle to the Sea was pretty closed to a boy's paradise. I'm buying it this week (2 copies) as gifts.
Feb 25, 2015 SchoolinginPajamas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ao-year1
This is our geography spine for our school year. It is geography but also science. We've learned about the Great Lakes, Canada, currents, beavers, sawmills, and so much more with this book. It is my second time around with the book and it is still a favorite. The illustration and diagrams add so much to the book. A family favorite.
Bill Daniels
Nov 24, 2014 Bill Daniels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly magnificent! I read it many, many years ago when I was seven or eight. I was utterly captivated by the sumptuous illustrations and the descriptions of Paddle to the Sea's journey around and through the Great Lakes. Wonderful geography! Moreover, I was transfixed by the author's name: Holling Clancy Holling.
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Born in Jackson County, Michigan, in 1900, Holling Clancy Holling graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1923. He then worked in a taxidermy department of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and spent time working in anthropology under Dr. Ralph Linton.

During this period, he married Lucille Webster, and within a year of their marriage accepted a position as art instructor on th
More about Holling Clancy Holling...

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“In the canoe, the Indian smiled. Once he paused in a stroke, and rested his blade. For that instant he looked like his own Paddle. There was a song in his heart. It crept to his lips, but only the water and the wind could hear.

You, Little Traveler! You made the journey, the Long Journey. You now know the things I have yet to know. You, Little Traveler! You were given a name, a true name in my father’s lodge. Good Medicine, Little Traveler! You are truly a Paddle Person, a Paddle-to-the-Sea!”
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