Inspired by various experiences from his childhood, Jim LaMarche, beloved illustrator of A Story for Bear and The Elves and the Shoemaker, brings this touching story about one boy's unexpected summer as a river rat to life with his bold, picturesque paintings.Nicky isn't one bit happy about spending the summer with his grandma in the Wisconsin woods; he'd much rather be back in the city. He's not too thrilled about all the chores either especially fishing. Before long, though, a raft appears in the nearby river, and it changes everything. As Nicky explores, the raft works a subtle magic on the obstinate young boy, opening up the wonders all around him: the animals of river and woods, his grandmother's humor and wisdom, and his own special talent as an artist.This is a serene story about a summer in the woods, appreciating things and people in a whole new light, and discovering one's own talents. School Library Journal proclaimed, "this dazzling picture book is an artistic triumph." A note from the author describes the similarities between LaMarche's and Nicky's life.Supports the Common Core State Standards"