A meaty tale of the quest for an uncatchable fish named Oscar is told in folksy, irresistible language. Simon Henry's outstanding features are his ability to catch any fish and brag about it, his unsociable temperament, and his tight boots. In pursuit of his passion, he ignores even the ""Friday-Night-Potluck-Everybody-Come-and-Fling"" party in town. One day, Potato Kelly, female proprietor of the bait and chowder shop, tells him of the ""crafty, bait-grasping catfish"" in local waters, and the chase is on. The two odd-looking middle-aged characters wager with each other in colorful phrases about Simon Henry's ability to succeed. Since his socks ""were beginning to smell worse that sour milk, worse than secret-recipe stinkbait,"" he uses them as a lure. The catfish clamps on and tows the fishing boat like the shark in Jaws, finally leaving only half a sock behind. Simon Henry must do all the humiliating things he promised, and Oscar lives on, singing in the deep hole by Higgins Bend. The watercolor illustrations exaggerate as much as the text: Figures and landscapes sway with the artist's lyrical lines; perspectives as if from odd camera lenses distort and amuse. Some of the townspeople look quite goofy, but they also look familiar, in a tale clearly fished from American waters.