Happy Go Fishing Day!
Recently I reviewed a fishing story called Granddad’s Fishing Buddy, by Mary Quigley and Stephane Jorish. It is a quiet and heartwarming story about a little girl and her granddad who go out fishing early one morning. You can read the full review below.
Anansi Goes Fishing retold by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Janet Stevens (1992)
Kimmel and Stevens have paired up to write several West African folktales about Anansi, the Spider. In this story, Anansi wants a fish. His friend Turtle has promised to teach him how to fish the next day, but Anansi is too lazy to do anything for himself and he plans on tricking Turtle to fish for him. However, Turtle is not as slow as he appears and he tricks Anansi instead. Given the choice to work or to get tired, Anansi chooses work three days in a row, while Turtle gets tired watching him. While Turtle basks in the sunlight, Anansi weave a fishing net. The next day Anansi puts the net into the water while Turtle lounges. On the third day Anansi catches and cooks a fish while Turtle sleeps. And when it is time to eat the fish, Turtle asks Anansi if he would rather eat the fish or get full. Anansi says he wants to be full so he sits in the chair waiting to be full while Turtle eats the fish. By the time Anansi realizes that Turtle has eaten the whole fish, he accuses him of cheating. Turtle calmly explains that Anansi had made all his own decisions. Anansi is not satisfied with this explanation and goes to the Justice Tree where he talks to Warthog about the quarrel, but Warthog does not believe that Anansi did all the work and Turtle got tired doing nothing. Warthog tells Anansi to go hom and stop making trouble. Anansi was too angry to speak to Turtle for a long time, but he did go home and learn how to weave his own nets (spider webs) and catch his own food. He taught all his friends and that is why today, wherever you find spiders, you will find their nets.
Fishing Day written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Shane W. Evans (2003)
This is a beautifully written and illustrated story which has an underlying message about friendship despite color barriers. Reenie and her Mama are black, living in the Jim Crow south. They go fishing every Saturday just for the fun of it and they’re very good at it. When the story opens, Reenie and Mama are at Jim Crow River fishing without any luck. Peter Troop and his daddy are poor white folks who fish for food. But Peter, who Reenie calls Pigeon because he is always flitting about, cannot sit still and is skipping stones in the river. Mama worries that Peter’s noise and messing around is going to cause all the fish to go away, leaving everyone suffering from want. The kids steal glances at each other, but their parents chide them to keep to their own side of things. And the adults ignore each other. Mama explains to Reenie how the river got it’s name and how that’s it’s been for as long as memory serves. Peter and his dad use night crawlers for bait, and Reenie wants to tell them that carp like corn but she can’t talk to him. Pretty soon, Reenie catches a fish, then Mama catches one too. However the Troops are not very successful and they resent Reenie and her Mama for their fishing ability. Mr. Troop goes to the truck to fix a fishing pole and Pigeon starts chucking stones into the river. Then he’s throwing those stones toward Mama and Reenie. One hits Reenie on the knee. Reenie wants to go home, but Mama convinces her to stay saying that Peter is just hurting and he doesn’t know what to do except hurt others. Mama moves herself and Reenie farther away from Peter and his stones. After Reenie catches her second fish, she decides to help Peter. She gathers up some corn kernels and takes them over to Pigeon. She gives him some gloves to keep warm and shows him how to hook the corn. Then she tells him to wait and be still, hoping he’ll stop throwing stones. When Mr. Troop returns Peter gets a tug on his line. He ends up catching two fish, one on his hook and one biting the first one’s tail! Mr. Troop and Peter go home happy and Reenie feels good about helping him. The next day on her way home from church, Reenie sees Peter in the back of his daddy’s truck on their way to the river again. Peter waves to her with the glove she had given him the day before and she waves back.