About the Holiday
Is fishing your thing? Do you like nothing better than heading down to the lake or stream and spending a relaxing day with a fishing pole, some bait, and the possibility of reeling in a “big one?” Perhaps you like fly fishing better, challenging yourself to flick that hook in just the right place. Then again, maybe taking a boat out to deep water and pitting yourself against the truly big fish is more your style. However you like to fish, make some time to enjoy your hobby this month!
Written by Tommy Greenwald | Illustrated by David McPhail
Joe is a little boy who loved to fish. He didn’t mind that “nothing much happened” while he waited for the fish to bite. “Joe’s dad thought fishing was boring. ‘I like more action,’ he said. ‘And I don’t like worms.’” Joe always wished his dad would change his mind. Joe decided to join the town’s fishing club. He and the other kids “fished in streams, ponds, rivers, and brooks.”
All this fun made Joe love fishing even more. He tried to get his dad to try it, but he always said, “‘No, thank you.’” One winter day, the fishing club planned to go ice fishing. Each child needed to be accompanied by an adult. When Joe asked his dad if he would go, he agreed—as long as he never had to go fishing again. On Saturday, Joe and his dad headed out in the twelve-degree weather to meet the other kids at the lake.
After Joe’s dad made a hole in the ice, they put in their lines. They waited and looked around and waited some more. “Then Joe and his dad started to talk. They talked about everything: baseball, movies, music, food, school, animals, and a bunch of other stuff.” By the end of the day, they still hadn’t caught anything, and Joe’s dad was freezing. Joe worried that his dad would never like fishing after today.
Just as they were about to leave, though, Joe got a bite on his line. He and his dad both jumped up, but Joe’s dad slipped on the ice and fell. With one huge pull, Joe reeled in his catch. At first, Joe didn’t know what kind of fish he’d caught, but then he realized it wasn’t a fish but a soggy, stuffed, pink elephant. Everyone laughed, and Joe was embarrassed. He wanted to throw the elephant back in, but his dad stopped him.
In the car, Joe and his dad talked about all the things that had happened that day, laughing the whole way home. At home, Joe’s dad washed and dried the elephant. “It came out warm and fluffy,” and Joe’s dad suggested they name it Ella. When spring rolled around and Joe was planning his first fishing trip, his dad asked if he could go too.
They sat under a tree and “talked and laughed and had a great time.” It didn’t matter that they only caught one little fish. After that, Joe’s dad loved going along on every fishing trip. “You could say he was hooked.”
A heartening and tender story for children to share with their dads, Tommy Greenwald’s Hooked is also a gentle reminder that there’s much more to sharing an activity with kids than the activity itself. Parents wanting to share their own hobbies and knowledge with their children will also find a whole world of new experiences open up if they sometimes follow their child’s lead. Greenwald’s straightforward storytelling honestly portrays the relationship between Joe and his dad through realistic dialogue and clearly exhibited thoughts and feelings. The growth and strengthening of the pair’s relationship is uplifting and moving.
David McPhail lends his well-known talent for portraying children to Greenwald’s poignant family story. His line drawings, softly washed in watercolor and pastel, wistfully depict Joe’s hope that his father will join him in fishing and his disappointment when he refuses. As Joe’s dad warms to spending the day ice fishing and later accompanies Joe on future trips, children will be cheered to see Joe and his dad smiling and laughing together. Young readers will love the detailed images of Joe’s home life and fishing trips.
A book to spur discussions and bonding between fathers and sons or daughters, Hooked would make a meaningful addition to home bookshelves and is a must for school and children’s libraries.
Ages 4 – 8
Roaring Brook Press, 2018 | ISBN 978-1596439962
To learn more about David McPhail, his books, and his art, visit his website.
National Fishing Month Activity
Go Fishing Game
Kids can go fishing right at home with this easy-to-make game! With a paper plate pond, a few printable fish, and a few other supplies, kids will be catching a whole lot of fun!
- Printable Colorful Fish Template
- Printable Black and White Fish Template
- Printable Go Fishing! Playing Die (optional)
- A large straw, wooden dowel, or pencil for a fishing pole
- Two 1-inch round magnets for fishing pole
- Paper clips
- Crayons (optional)
- Glue (optional)
- Color the paper plate blue
- Print the Go Fishing! Game Playing Die (optional)
To Make the Fish
- Print the fish templates, color fish, and cut out
- Tape a paper clip to the back of the fish or slip a paperclip on the nose of the fish
- If using back-to-back templates, cut fish out, put a paper clip between the sides and glue or tape the two sides together
To Make the Fishing Pole
- Tie a length of string to the straw, pencil, or dowel
- Sandwich the other end of the string between the two circular magnets
- Lay the fish on the plate
- Go fishing!
Optional Game: Kids can roll the die to determine which fish to catch
You can find Hooked at these booksellers
Picture Book Review