When I started this blog, I never thought I’d review a book for kids. If you’re a frequent reader, you know the story of my being asked to review books. Well, a children’s book came a long that I just couldn’t pass up.
You see, I was raised by an avid fisherman. In fact, growing up I was taken out of school early on more than one occasion for a special fishing trip down to the river with my dad. Now, my dad is taking his grandchildren – in particular one of my nephews who really loves being on the boat with Papa.
What came to my door was really three books: a kid’s book – “Wally the Walking Fish Meets Madison and Cooper,” “My Fishing Journal” and a version of the same for older kids – “Fishing Journal.”
The kid’s book is a short tale about a little girl and her dog who meet a walking fish. Throughout the story, Madison, Cooper and Wally encounter other animals as well. What I love about this book is that while the primary story is obviously written on a grade-school reading level, there are breakout boxes with additional information on the animals in the story: labs, walking fish, flying fish and beavers. (In fact, I had to call my dad to verify something I learned reading this book – beavers don’t eat fish. I didn’t know that.) So the book is written with the intended purpose of an adult reading with a kid, and encourages additional learning outside the main story line.
My Fishing Journal also encourages adults and kids to learn together. Aside from being a journal where you document all the details of your fishing experience (location, weather, catch, bait, photos, etc.), the book has color diagrams of different types of reels, rods, hooks and bait. And, there is a paragraph each on many different species of fish. So the learning / teaching opportunities are endless. Not to mention in the end, you have an incredible keepsake. I’d give anything to have this type of journal from the days of fishing with my dad.
Fishing Journal is basically the same book as the previous one, but the diagrams aren’t in color, and there are more pages for journaling each outing. However, Gary Lamit, the author, invites you to download additional journal pages from his website – www.walkingfishbooks.com. So, my preference regardless of age – since the color diagrams really are nice – would be to use the younger kid’s version – “My Fishing Journal” – and then add to it with pages from Lamit’s website when you run out. (There’s space in first edition for about 15 fishing trips.)
I must also mention the introduction that Lamit wrote for the fishing journals speaks to my experiences growing up as well. He encourages you to take in the whole experience – notice the water conditions, notice the wildlife. The local river that I grew up fishing on the most has incredible wildlife – turtles, turkeys, deer, hawks and my parents have even seen an occasional bald eagle.
So I guess what I love about these books – and particularly the journal – is that Lamit has recognized and offered a tool for making an ordinary hobby into an extraordinary experience.
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