THE GIFT by Kristine L. Franklin


Age Range: 4 - 8
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A twist on the classic initiation tale of a first fishing trip and its catch-and-release ending. Set somewhere in the Northwest, this fish tale sees Jimmy Joe set out in a boat with the mysterious Fish Woman, in hopes of catching a prized salmon. After landing the enormous fish, Jimmy Joe feels unsettled. At this point, the story detours into the sighting of a pod of killer whales. In Jimmy Joe’s enthusiasm, he abruptly surrenders his salmon to them in the hopes of luring the whales back for another glimpse. Children may puzzle over Jimmy Joe’s choice and Franklin’s continuous toying with the values of beauty over sustenance (the salmon is beautiful, but dies on the ice and is useful only as food; abruptly, the food is given to the whales, and Jimmy Joe has to go catch and cook more fish). The shapes and colors of Lavallee’s seascapes are as glistening as the salmon’s scales in sunlight. Friendly, rounded forms depict native people bent to various tasks alongside gliding, surfacing whales. The self-conscious message nearly kidnaps the story, but it is redeemed by the effervescent watercolors. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8118-0447-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999