An inquisitive and adventurous young girl named Flossie spends a day with the beloved Bonefish Joe to see why so many people travel to Harbour Island from all over just to go fishing with him.
Harbour Island is a small settlement in the Bahamas known for bonefishing: a catch-and-release sport with the silvery bonefish as its object. Screwing up her courage, Flossie approaches Bonefish Joe to ask him to take her fishing. Laughing, he tells Flossie that she needs her mother’s permission. Though she’s initially told no, Flossie is happily surprised when her mother later changes her mind in a contrived and inexplicable turnabout. Flossie eagerly goes on this adventure and finally understands why an outing with Bonefish Joe is such a sought-after experience: “Bonefish Joe took you by the hand and brought you to a peaceful and quiet place.” Although the author’s affection for Bonefish Joe, a real Bahamian fisherman, and for Harbour Island is clear, the story never gets under Flossie’s skin. Her ignorance of the economic realities of fishing tourism and of Bonefish Joe’s particular expertise make her feel like an outsider in her own community, an unsettling feeling that perhaps contributes to the narrative’s feeling of disconnectedness. Though filled with light, the illustrations do but a lackluster job of capturing the sparkling sights described by the text and life on Harbour Island in general.
A heartfelt but lukewarm attempt at re-creating a slice of island life. (Picture book. 5-8)