Ready for your next vacation? Grab the canoe and let's go!


This wordless picture book opens with an illustration of a car with three people and a canoe strapped to the top. They family is going to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Superior National Forest. When they get to the first stop, everything but the child’s enthusiasm is packed into the canoe. They row across the lake and carry the canoe up stream, to pitch their tent and make a campsite. Images show readers all of the things to do and explore in this wilderness along the Minnesota-Canada border.

Parent Perspective:
You’ll wish you could spend the summer here. This is a wordless picture book, so you’ll have to create – or better yet let your child create – the adventure(s). There is “just enough” activity on each page to focus on something new with each re-reading and create different adventures every time. It’s clear in the beginning that the child in this family of three isn’t as excited as mom and dad … be sure to point that out because it changes.

A definite buy, regardless of where you live, if you love being out in nature, and are a hiking / camping / canoeing family.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Lovely illustrations with plenty of wonderful subtleties will have readers creating and re-creating this family's adventures camping at the lake. Don't be surprised if they give the characters names!

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a wordless picture book that lets readers create adventures by exploring the illustrations on the pages.
Educational Themes:

Do you know about the BWCA? Grab a map and show young readers where it is. You might also read the Author’s Note to your kids. This is a glacial lake, and that may surprise them. Other things to explore:

  • Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights
  • What kind of fish can you catch here?
  • What kinds of birds – and what sounds to they make?
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
5 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
4 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This would be a lovely book to read before a camping trip or overnight outdoor adventure.

Title One Summer Up North
Author John Owens
Publisher University of Minnesota Press © 2020
ISBN 9781517909505
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.95
Genres Family, Nature, Seasons
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Jason Chin
Flash Point © 2009