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Monday, March 16, 2015

Fishermen Through and Through, written by Colleen Sydor and Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. Red Deer Press, Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2014. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"There once lived three
fishermen: Peter, Santiago,
and Ahab. They were tough.
They were as salty  as the
bottom of a pretzel bag. They were as weathered as a twisted stick of driftwood. Yes, these three were fishermen through and through."

I remember how much I loved the language the first time I read this book. I have read it on a number of occasions since then, and think I only appreciate it even more. It is a grand story of three friends who see their lives as slightly conventional. They spend their days on the water, and their evenings sharing stories with friends in a local restaurant. That does not mean that they have no dreams for themselves: Peter dreams of seas of sand, Santiago dreams of exploring the skies in a hot air balloon, and Ahab wants to lose himself in a field of endless flowers.

On a bright and sunny day while hauling in their nets, they are astonished to find a rare and truly beautiful albino lobster caught up in it:

"The three fishermen stared in silent wonder, for they weren't so weathered and salty and tough that they didn't recognize beauty when they found it doing the front crawl in their bucket."

Wanting to share its beauty, they take it along with them to the Fisherman's Net and share its beauty with other patrons. Interest grows and word travels. Soon, there are many visitors wanting to talk to the fishermen and study the lobster. When offered money for it, the three are quick to say 'no'. However, as the amount of money grows exponentially, they begin to consider the possibility of fulfilling their dreams. What should they do?

It takes much pondering, and a sizable amount of time to come to a decision that is right for them all.
This is a delightful story to read aloud, with lively, lyrical language pleasing to the ear. The lovely blue-washed artwork adds texture and context for the youngest listeners, and for those who share this lovely story with them.

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