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The Waterfall's Gift

written by Joanne Ryder & Illustrated by R J Watson

Sierra Club / Gibbs Smith 2001

ISBN 1578051134    

ISBN-13: 978-1578051137

ISBN 087156579X

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The insistent voice of the waterfall rings through the old north woods, beckoning a listening child back to the secret place she once shared with her grandfather. Its call mingles with the lively sounds of the forest--the birds and rustling leaves--in a reassuring blend of past and present, then and now.

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Find all the animals tucked in the birch forest, above.

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The painting of the stones (below) was inspired by walks on the Olympic Peninsula beaches. We often find an unusual mix of stones, pre- and post-glacial deposits, wind and wave smoothed. Each stone, a small world unto itself. Together the gathering of stones is like a galaxy of planets.

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When Rick Halverson, designer of this book, heard that the story was set in the North Woods, he said I had to come to his North Woods. 

Rick arranged for us to stay at Naniboujou Lodge, on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

I hiked and painted for weeks, wandering through the North Woods of Minnesota.‚Äč

Back in the studio I painted the final illustrations using egg tempera paint made with fresh eggs. 

Every morning we collected  our chickens' eggs, mixing an egg yolk with powdered pigments and distilled water. The paint was then applied layer upon thin, translucent layer.

Over time, egg tempera develops a unique luminous effect, caused by exquisitely tiny crystals on the top layer, that magically shimmer in the light. 

Our daughter, Faith, did the calligraphic title for this book.

Lake Superior plein-air studies in oil and watercolour 

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Commandeering eggs for painting each day frustrated the hens, who went into witness protection programs so we couldn't find their eggs. Before long a new batch of baby chicks were peeping around the yard.

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Look for the rollie pollie pillbugs and Richard's signature hidden on each page of the Waterfall's Gift book (as shown above in the close-up).


Other things to search for in this book:

great horned owl

cedar waxwing

red-tailed hawks 

meadowlark

pileated woodpecker 

pheasant

dove

cliff swallows

chickadees

ducks

water ouzels or dippers 

bees

pillbugs

dragonflies

ladybugs

spiders

frogs

salamander

otter

fox

deer

rabbit

centipede

caterpillar

racoon

chipmunk

black bear

squirrel

mouse

dog