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THE EMPTY CREEL by Geraldine Pope


by Geraldine Pope & illustrated by Dennis Cunningham

Pub Date: July 20th, 1995
ISBN: 1-56792-044-6
Publisher: Godine

Grandpa pulls up to Lucy's house early on a Saturday morning. He's got fishing on his mind. Lucy grabs her gear and they beat feet to the local river. Motoring their boat to a favorite haunt, Lucy nabs a sizeable salmon, but the fish shakes loose and Lucy returns home with an empty creel and full heart. Pope's tale is redolent of a springtime fishing jaunt, all electric and expectant. Lucy wishes she had landed the brute, wishes her picture was nailed up on the tackle shop wall, but readers will know that the real story was the chase. In his first book, Cunningham's b&w block prints chart the course of Lucy's adventure; their bold outlines and 1940s feel are a good match. At times the chunky style doesn't suit what is depicted: the swirls of mist and clouds look leaden. Otherwise, the prints vividly conjure the north woods, and Grandpa is conjured best: Kindly, unshaven, and vaguely disreputable, he's the perfect fishing companion. Mossy and transporting, this book provides an opportunity to delve into the whole hunting/fishing conundrum. (Picture book. 6- 10)