In the America at Work series, Drake and Love (Forestry, 1998, etc.) offer an overview of two US fisheries, one in Maine and the other in Alaska, as experienced through the eyes of a young girl, Jessie, who travels from her Alaska home to visit her Down East grandfather. The principal catch in each locale is salmon, but the text explains that past fishing practices have radically altered traditional methods of harvest. Heavy over-fishing has reduced the Maine salmon fishery to fish farming, which is what Jessie’s grandfather introduces her to. He takes her through the process of raising salmon, and also shows her experimental work in raising halibut. When Jessie returns home, her father, who is state fisheries officer, talks to her about the wild salmon fisheries still found in Alaska, and the ideal elements necessary for prime fish habitat. It is his job to protect that habitat and insure the salmon are not over-harvested as they were on the East Coast. Although the tone of the book is wincingly didactic, for the most part the information is doled out in manageable quantities, and the crystal-clear, full-color artwork leaves no doubt about the difference between a gillnetter and a seiner, a trawler and a longliner. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55074-457-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999


Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000


PLB 0-531-33140-7 Ketcham’s first book is based on an allegedly true story of a childhood incident in the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. It starts with a couple of pages regaling the Bach home and all the Johanns in the family, who made their fame through music. After his father’s death, Johann Sebastian goes to live with his brother, Johann Christoph, where he boasts that he is the best organist in the world. Johann Christoph contradicts him: “Old Adam Reincken is the best.” So Johann Sebastian sets out to hear the master himself. In fact, he is humbled to tears, but there is hope that he will be the world’s best organist one day. Johann Sebastian emerges as little more than a brat, Reincken as more of a suggestion than a character. Bush’s illustrations are most transporting when offering details of the landscape, but his protagonist is too impish to give the story much authority. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30140-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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