THE FISHING LESSON by Heinrich Böll

THE FISHING LESSON

by ; illustrated by ; adapted by
Age Range: 5 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An adaptation of Böll’s fable about not letting work overtake one’s life.

A visitor to a sleepy harbor town snaps photographs and awakens a fisherman dozing in his boat after landing a small catch earlier that day. The groggy fisherman “in shabby clothes” patiently entertains the tourist’s questions, telling him that he has already done his fishing for the day. The tourist can’t understand why the fisherman is content, and he embarks on a long list of speculations about the wealth and power the fisherman could attain if, instead of napping, he went back out to sea. The comic-book style, reminiscent of that in Hergé’s Tin Tin (which Bravo cites as inspiration in flap copy), uses panels to pace the story and add further humor—the fisherman’s repeated shakes of his head are particularly funny. It takes on a frenetic pace as the tourist imagines the fisherman working hard enough to get additional boats, a smokehouse, a factory, his own restaurant, “And then....” After a dramatic pause, everything comes full circle: “And then… / You could come relax here in the harbor, take a nap in the sunshine, or just enjoy the magnificent view.” This, of course, is just what the wise fisherman was doing before the tourist awakened him. Both men appear white, the former with light skin and hair, the latter with a ruddy complexion and dark hair and a beard.

A lesson about success delivered with humor and graceful irony. (Picture book. 5-10, adult)

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5503-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Eerdmans
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2018




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