post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Swift Rivers
Author: Cornelia Meigs
Major Themes: Minnesota, Mississippi, Logging, Rivers, Family Read-Alouds, Historical Fiction, US History 1865-1900, Books for Boys
Synopsis: As he takes logs down the rivers to the market in St. Louis, Chris learns a lot about life and relationships in this wonderful story.
It’s odd how I remember some books are very good, but I don’t remember a lot of the plot. Swift Rivers is an example of these books. I had read it aloud a couple of times, and remembered really enjoying it both times, but didn’t remember a lot of what happened in it. We just finished reading it aloud again, and I really enjoyed it again! Maybe this time the story will stick.
Chris was raised by his uncle in northern Minnesota, but his heart was with his grandfather. The two of them mowed a particular field every summer, though the uncle scoffed. This summer, Grandfather didn’t show up, so Chris worked alone—until a strange young man showed up, and someone else shot bullets at them. What was going on? Later, Chris decided to try sending logs down the river to the Mississippi and getting them to market in St. Louis that way. Would it work? Would it be worthwhile?
The journey down the rivers ended up being quite eventful. Chris had to face many challenges, including a log jam, bandits, feuding river pilots, and a grounded raft that broke up. He learned a lot about friendship and loyalty, and even learned how to forgive. This book shows a boy growing up into a man.
Swift Rivers is a wonderful, realistic adventure story. It is a unique way of looking at the Mississippi River and the logging industry of the mid 1800s. It is also a great story about people and relationships—don’t miss this one!
WARNING: There is a fight in chapters 6 and 7.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Minnesota, Mississippi, Logging, Rivers, Family Read-Alouds, Historical Fiction, US History 1865-1900, Books for Boys