________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 11 . . . . January 23, 2009

cover Andrew Goes Fishing in Manitoba.

Carol Szuminsky & Jack Brown. Illustrated by Kristin Szuminsky & Jack Brown.
Winnipeg, MB: Peanut Butter Press (55 Willowbend Cres. R2N 1V2), 2008.
32 pp., pbk., Free to schools & libraries in Manitoba and free, except for the cost of postage and handling, elsewhere.
ISBN 978-0-9735579-5-4.

Subject Headings:
Fishing-Manitoba-Juvenile literature.
Fishing-Manitoba-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

* /4


On the way home, Grandpa shared some information about fishing in Manitoba with Andrew and his mom. "Adults need to buy a fishing licence, but children under sixteen don't need a licence to fish. The general fishing season in southern Manitoba, where we live, usually starts on the Saturday closest to May 15 and ends on March 31 for most species of fish," Grandpa informed them. "There's no fishing allowed between the close of the last season and the start of the new fishing season so that the fish aren't disturbed when they're spawning. Spawning is when the females lay their eggs and the males put a milky substance called milt on the eggs to fertilize them. Most species of Manitoba fish spawn in the spring, but trout lay their eggs in the fall."

Co-written by a father-daughter team, this five-chapter book is more a labour of love than it is a good work of fiction. Though its basic premise of conservation and proper fishing practices is sound, the didactic writing style, flat characters, and far too much text lack appeal.

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     Andrew has been interested in fishing since he was seven years old. For his eighth birthday, he receives a fishing rod and reel and a tackle box from his grandpa. The story follows Andrew and his grandfather over a five year period as they visit a number of great fishing spots in Manitoba. Grandpa teaches Andrew about the different types of native fish, lures and other equipment, fishing regulations and the responsibilities inherent in being an angler in terms of conservation and the environment.

     The text is amateurish and boring, the conversations between Andrew and his grandfather totally unrealistic. Case in point: the excerpt above was taken from the opening page where Grandpa launches into a lengthy explanation of the fishing season to a seven-year-old. There are a few cases of careless editing, one example being the omission of end quotation marks, and another being the misspelling of the word lightning (on two occasions it's spelled lightening). Due to Brown's vast experience and knowledge of fishing, perhaps the authors should have considered writing a nonfiction book on the topic, a genre which might be better suited to their writing style.

     Brown and his granddaughter share the illustrating duties. He provides the detailed acrylic paintings of common Manitoba fish species while she creates the pictures of Andrew and his grandfather. Rendered in watercolour, Szuminsky's illustrations match the text but are rather lifeless, nor do they add any extra details.

Not Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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