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The River

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  471 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
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. A few sentences at the start of each chapter set the stage and provide clues for following each story. Beginning ...more
Hardcover, 110 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books (first published 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked this up today after having seen it a few times in my local graphic novel shop and I have to say it's magnificent. This is a translated story told nearly entirely through imagery which details the changes of season for one town near to the river. The story is divided into 4 sections, each one representative of a season, and they all start with one or two sentences talking about what the change in season brings. We then go entirely to pictures for the actual stories and we get to follow t ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A vibrant portrait of life, both in the individual experience, and in our connection to the larger world! The river is the source, the beginning of every journey. Those that inhabit its banks live according to its whims, for its mood swings from violent to benevolent depending on the season. Each section is dedicated to a part of the year, with a story that is centralized around it.

The artist prepares us for his watercolour visions by explaining his mindset and inspiration in a brief poem. His
Jillian Heise
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is made of stunningly gorgeous illustrations, but I just didn't quite get the story. It follows the Po River (in Italy) through the four seasons and different things that happen, but I was thrown off by some of the elements that were happening. I was entranced by the beauty and peacefulness evoked by the artwork, and turned the pages just to soak up more of it. There were several frames that I would love to blow up on canvas to decorate my home, but as a whole story it isn't something ...more
Nellie Airoldi
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viaggiare, spesso, è anche tornare e vedere lo stesso luogo a intervalli regolari, studiando ogni minimo cambiamento, mese dopo mese, un po’ come Alessandro Sanna in Fiume Lento – Un Viaggio lungo il Po, un albo grande e immersivo, senza parole, dove gli acquarelli giocano a dipingere cieli e paesaggi nuovi che si alternano sotto le stelle di stagioni che non possono che continuare a tornare.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an exception piece of art discovering the changing seasons along the Po River in Italy. Simply stunning.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book based on the changes along a river over the course of a year starting in autumn and ending in the summer. The author doesn't use any words or monologue and simply allows the reader (viewer?) to formulate the story from the artwork itself. Speaking of which, the artwork is stunning and captures the feel of the river and the inhabitants who live on and beside the river, making the need for words mute.
David Schaafsma
Alessandro Sanna is the award-winning painter and illustrator of more than 40 books, and this is the first one produced in English. There's only four poems one for each season, and many watercolor paintings for each season. Gorgeous paintings, lovingly reproduced. It's not really a children's book, it's really an "all ages" book, but gets put in the children's section because it's an illustrated book. Sanna's watercolors depict the area where he lives near the Po River in the lowlands of northea ...more
Abigail Monhollen
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is absolutely stunning.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and poetic. I love it. (Landscapes! Watercolours! Skies! What could possibly be better?)
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely gorgeous. I want to cover my walls with his artwork. I think this will probably find more of an audience with adults than children.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Es espectacular. No hay diálogos ni falta que le hace. Es impresionante y no lo digo porque sí. Si podeis haceros con una copia, disfrutaréis cada viñeta.
Matt Graupman
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s appropriate that Alessandro Sanna’s graphic novel/picture book/art book “The River,” a semi-fictional collection of illustrated vignettes about life on the Po River in his native Italy, is rendered with watercolors. What better way to convey the gentle beauty of his beloved homeland than with paints that have the same lush, fluid qualities? And with no words in it other than a few poetic lines before each story, “The River” relies almost completely on its artwork to do the heavy lifting, pl ...more
Katrine Engelhardt  Thomsen
This book was my brief and beautiful vacation from my daily chores and worries.
I was completely transported to the serene, yet ever changing, banks of The River.

From the changing seasons (each with their own quietly dramatic narrative) to the subtle changes in the colours within each page of illustrations, this book will draw you back again and again to the banks and the life of The River, where you every time will notice and enjoy something new and slightly different than last time you were t
Katherine Cowley
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was shelved as a graphic novel, but to me it was actually a ballet of paintings about a river, told through the lens of four seasons. It's organized by season, and has a bit of a story for each season, which is told in several sentences at the start of each chapter, just as you might have a short plot description in a ballet program. The art is stimulating and beautiful, and I'm so glad I stumbled across this work by an Italian artist.
Anna Mischka
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knížka, kterou můžete kdykoliv vzít do rukou a potěšit oko i duši. Poetické, něžné akvarelové ilustrace seskládané do němých příběhů, které píšou čtyři roční období, počasí, řeka, stromy, zvířata, lidi... Krásné to bylo.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and subtle--but there are only four single paragraphs of text. (Not a criticism, just an FYI for new readers.)
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beautiful-art
Really beautiful pictures.
L.A. James
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful artwork!
As posted on Zezee with Books.

Quick summary:

The River is an illustrated book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river. The story is told almost entirely without words, and the book is separated into four parts, one for each season, that all begin with a short paragraph about how the season affects the river or the town and what is included in that section (I realized this last part after completing the book).

My thoughts and the Art style:

The River is a
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
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 ...more
Vincent Desjardins
This almost wordless picture book is absolutely stunning. In "The River," author/illustrator Alessandro Sanna gives us a look at four seasons along Italy's Po River. Each season is given its own section, beginning with a brief synopsis of the story that is to follow. From that point on, each season's story is told in a wordless sequence of watercolor paintings. There are hundreds of paintings in the book, each one an exquisite mini-masterpiece. The book begins in Fall with a story about a flood ...more
Vivek Tejuja
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another beautiful book read this month is “The River” by Alesanndro Sanna. It is so beautiful that maybe my review will also fall short in describing its beauty and grace. There are so many books out there I am sure that these adjectives might fit but for me this month till now at least it has been about “The River”.

Why do I like this book?

“The River” is all about seasons. The book starts in autumn and ends in summer and is beautifully depicted only through water-color paintings by the artist. T
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I am no authority on graphic novels, much less on "‘Nuff Said" (silent) comics. Shocking, right? All I can offer this book in terms of a review is that the art work is stunning. I am so happy that artists like Alessandro Sanna exist in our world, masters who are so skilled & clearly so passionate about their work (the sheer art in The River is evidently full of love & tenderness toward its subject matter), and the world simply needs more of that skilled love.

Everyone wil
Katharine Ott
“The River” – written and illustrated by Alessandro Sanna and published in 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books. This handsome book consists of soft watercolor images of scenery and events in northeastern Italy. The pages are set up similar to a comic, with four panels to a page, and the only text is a few sentences at the beginning of each seasonal section. Many of the color palettes are muted, although vibrant colors appear also. Essentially, this book seems to be streams of consciousness brought to l ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First of all, it's beautiful. The author is generous: the quantity of illustrations is large and none of them is of an inferior quality. What makes this book special to me is that I personally know the area of the Po river. I want you to know that whatever you see in this book is real (even the hidden reference to a painter who really existed: Antonio Ligabue). This is the soul of that area faithfully captured in all its poetry. If you have any memories there you may find it incredibly moving, l ...more
Harriet Fox
The River
Graphic Novel
Alessandro Sanna

A book of very few words - in fact no words to the story only short paragraphs for the start of each season, Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.
The idea is to follow along the story through little snippets in the illustrations which I personally found hard to follow. I understood you were following characters as they went on journeys, interacted with others or an event but the story and the purpose wasn't clear. But maybe that's just me.

The book itself is
A mostly wordless book in the tradition of Anno's Journey, Alessandro Sanna explores a year in the life of the Po river. The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking. Sanna uses watercolor washes and an atmospheric color palette to give the landscape an ethereal quality. I found the focus to be a little scattered, so as a reading experience it didn't really grab me. The images, though, are absolutely unstoppable.
Travis Mueller
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Born in 1975, Alessandro Sanna's work is well-known throughout Italy. He has earned wide recognition across Europe as an illustrator and author, and his work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker. He is a prolific and popular creator of illustrated books for children and readers of all ages and has received many awards and had many exhibitions. He lives and works in Man ...more
More about Alessandro Sanna

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