Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: A Morning to Polish and Keep

Publish October 6, 2015

A Morning to Polish and Keep, a picture book by award-winning author Julie Lawson, is a quietly moving celebration of nature, family togetherness, and childhood memories. First published in 1992, it was reprinted this year. By using a simple, yet effective storyline based on the author’s family cottage experiences off the picturesque coast of Sooke, B.C., Lawson shares this memorable fishing tale through her protagonist, Amy’s, eyes. One cool summer morning, Amy, her brother, and their parents set off in their fishing boat, heading toward the “Island of Second Chances,” where her dad “lost the big one last week.” Amy’s determined to catch her first big fish. Choosing a shiny lure and casting out her line, she settles in and waits, enjoying the rising sun, hot chocolate, and cinnamon buns. Excitement ensues hours later when she catches a large coho salmon, but it—and her rod—gets away, and Amy’s crushed. All is not lost, however, as moments later as her brother makes a delightfully surprising catch, leaving Amy with “quite a fish story to tell.” Lawson’s descriptions skilfully evokes the sounds, sights, and sensations of summer’s last fishing trip, while illustrator Sheena Lott’s muted watercolour-palette illustrations, full of soft lines and fluid movement, bring the text to life. Lott has also expertly captured the shimmering quality of light and the translucency of water, adding a magical, whimsical element to the story. And her expressive figure drawing is spot-on, adding depth to this comforting, feel-good tale sure to become a cherished family favourite read time and again.

A Morning to Polish and Keep

Julie Lawson
Illustration EN: Sheena Lott
Red Deer Press
ISBN 13: 9780889955219

Jennifer D. Foster
Jennifer D. Foster Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor, mentor, and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. She loves kidlit, greyhounds, Japan, pumpkin pie and yard sales.  

The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.