About the Holiday
During National Fishing Month individuals and families are encouraged to try their hand at this fun outdoor sport. Whether you catch and release or eat what you catch, casting your line, seeing the bobber wobble, and feeling that exciting tug on the fishing pole makes for a fun day.
Written by Gideon Sterer | Illustrated by Poly Bernatene
A young girl’s grandpa sold his cabin on the lake and is coming to live with her and her family. When they pulled in to pick him up, he was ready and waiting with every fishing pole he owned in one hand and his tackle box in the other. But once he saw his granddaughter’s apartment in the middle of the city, he “realized there was nowhere to fish.”
All during that fall and winter, the girl tried to engage her grandpa in new activities like building models and playing chess. But nothing was the same as fishing. Then in the spring, the little girl had an idea. She took her grandpa out on the fire escape with their fishing poles, and they cast their lines over the edge. At first nothing happened. But then Grandpa got a bite. He reeled it in… “Grandpa said he’d never seen one before, but there it was…A Flying Litterfish.”
That green plastic bag on the end of the hook was just the beginning. After learning the rules—always return what you catch and “where there’s one fish, you can bet there will be more”—the two caught “Chimefish, and Signfish, Laundry Eels and even a Cold-air-square.” But all of those things were stationary and easy to catch. Down below, however, “the sidewalk flowed slowly”; it was a perfect place to practice trawling.
“Capfish were the first to bite. Then Songfish, Goldfish, and fish “from foreign shores.” As Grandpa and his granddaughter became more proficient, they reeled in “Furry Snappers” on leashes and “Hammerheads” drilling holes. Even a “Grillfish” was on the menu. Next, it was time to try their luck in the ocean of the street where larger and faster fish lived. Here, “Zoomfish, Mailfish, Glowfish, and more Yellow-stripers than [they] could count” waited.
There were also mammoth creatures like the “Stretchfish,” Waste-muncher,” and “Constructionfish,” but down below these—in the murky depths—lived the largest fish of all. Grandpa and his granddaughter studied just how to set their line, they lowered it slowly and were not surprised when they felt the tug of the…oh, no!…“Troublefish” with sirens blaring.
Quickly and quietly the two put their fishing poles away for another day. But summer vacation was just beginning, and it was time to join those city fish. “It was time to swim.”
Gideon Sterer’s debut picture book gently and creatively addresses the issue of grandparents transitioning from their own home into another living situation. As an outdoor-loving grandpa comes to live with his family in the city, his caring granddaughter discovers a way for him to continue his beloved pastime while they also form a strong bond. Sterer’s clever idea of dry-land fishing along with his witty names for the fish found in the concrete depths will enchant readers and entice them to devise species of their own. The sweet ending in which both Grandpa and Granddaughter are ready to explore the city and new experiences together is satisfying and uplifting.
With perfect pacing and a growing sense of wonder, Poly Bernatene leads children from Grandpa’s sparkling blue lake to his granddaughter’s city apartment to the first glimpse of their fire escape trophy. Children will be charmed by the ingenuity of the plastic-bag fish dangling on the line and, like the little girl in the story, will be hooked on what comes next. As the waters rise and the people and objects down below slowly transition to fish and other humorous sea creatures, readers will love exploring the watery world and learn to look at their own neighborhoods in a whole new way.
Ages 4 – 8
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017 | ISBN 978-1419719110
To learn more about Gideon Sterer and his books, visit his website.
Discover a gallery of artwork and books by Poly Bernatene for children, young adults, and adults on his website.
National Fishing Month Activity
Tackle the Tackle Box Board Game
A good fisherman always needs a well-stocked tackle box. Play the Tackle the Tackle Box Game to earn lures, bobbers, hooks and more to fill your box. The first player to complete their set is the winner! For more fun, you can color the tackle box items any way you like. There are even three extra cards for you to draw your own tackle box items!
- Printable Tackle the Tackle Box Game Board Template
- Printable Tackle the Tackle Box Game Cards
- Card stock or heavy paper (optional)
- Colored pencils, crayons or markers
- 1 playing die
- On card stock, heavy paper, or regular paper, print one Tackle the Tackle Box Game Board for every player
- On card stock, heavy paper, or regular paper, print one set of Tackle the Tackle Box Game Cards for every player
- Each player can color a set of playing cards
- Cut the cards apart
- Gather all the cards and set in separate piles
- Roll the die to determine who goes first, highest roll goes first
- The first player rolls the die, and adds the item that corresponds to the number on the die. The list is below.
- Play continues with each player rolling the die and collecting cards
- If the player rolls a number for a card that he or she already has, the die passes to the next player
- The first player to fix their tackle box is the winner!
Each number of dots on the die corresponds to these cards:
1: FISH LURES
4: FISHING LINE
Picture Book Review