Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story, by Andrew Weiner and illustrated by April Chu, tells the story of a boy's day out fly fishing with his mom, grandpa, and family dog. Eight-year-old Art experiences ups and down, but the whole day becomes a treasured memory for him. With a gentle pace and warm illustrations that make the action clearly understandable, it's an accessible family story as well as a solid intro to the sport with additional illustrated vocabulary and information in the back matter.
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What's the Story?
Young Art loves loading up the car with fly fishing gear and spending the day DOWN BY THE RIVER with his mom, grandpa, and family dog, hearing stories of how Grandpa taught his mom how to fish when she was Art's age, 8. Art experiences some frustration at not being the "natural" his mom was and getting his line tangled in a tree. But, in the end, he catches a fish and makes a promise to himself: I'll never forget this. The next page has the story's last line, "And he never did," above Art and his interracial family walking toward the river, as he presumably passes along the family lore and love of fly fishing.
Is It Any Good?
This sweet, gentle fishing tale celebrates family and the power of shared memories. It's a quiet story that moves with the rhythms of the river and its calm pools. It acknowledges the boy's feelings of frustration and incompetence as he compares his skills with those of his mother and captures his joy at finally casting well and catching a fish. Mainly, his pleasure comes from being with family, hearing his grandpa's stories, and having a memorable day out in nature.
Down by the River also offers a basic introduction to fly fishing, and April Chu's illustrations convey its intricacies and intimacies from varying perspectives -- close up, far away, and from a soaring osprey's-eye view -- in an autumnal palette of green, orange, yellow, red. Back matter explains and illustrates fly fishing practices (such as "catch and release") and vocabulary, and endpapers showcase the diversity of flies crafted by humans to fool the fish.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how fishing looks in Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story. Does it look fun? Hard? Would you like to try it if you never have?
What stories have you heard from your mom about what she did when she was your age? Do you like hearing family stories?
Have you ever tried a new sport and found it frustrating? Did you keep trying or give up?
- Author: Andrew Weiner
- Illustrator: April Chu
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
- Publication date: March 6, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 9
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 28, 2018
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