The Fishing Summer
Teddy Jam. Illustrated by Ange Zhang.
When I was a boy my three uncles lived in a big wooden house by the sea...On Sundays they would do the laundry and hang their white shirts out on the line, where they would flap in the wind like big raggedy gulls ... Every summer my mother would take me there for a visit.So begins The Fishing Summer, by Teddy Jam, nom de plume for a well-known writer and author of Night Cars and ALA Notable book, The Year of Fire. His latest picture book is a nostalgic account of a special summer in the life of an eight-year-old boy. Naturally the boy yearns to go out fishing with his uncles, and, just as naturally, his mother is afraid her son will fall in and be drowned. One night, too excited to sleep, our young hero steals down to the boat, climbs into the cabin and falls asleep. When he awakes next morning to the sound of hammering motors, he is teased by his uncles who call him a stowaway and threaten to throw him overboard. Despite a watery mishap, that first day out on the water is a glorious beginning to his summer of fishing. On the last evening before the boy and his mother return home, the uncles "...toasted me and said how I'd become a real fisherman. Uncle Thomas gave me a drink of his coffee. It was bitter and it was raw and it was sweet. It was the taste of that summer and I never lost it."
The author has passed on that taste to his readers, creating characters of humour and strength who are brought to life by the bold and bright portraits of artist Ange Zhang. In the same way, Zhang's beautiful oil paintings of the Atlantic seacoast capture the sights, sounds and smells of that part of the world. Both reader and young listener are in for a treat as they share this bittersweet memoir of a way of life that has disappeared forever.
Valerie Nielsen is the teacher-librarian at Bairdmore Elementary School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - OCTOBER 3, 1997.
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