An overconfident fisherman wishes to become world-famous.
Burly, bearded Gus has won every fishing award imaginable in his hometown. But he longs for more recognition. If only he could catch 100 fish in one day—no one has ever done that! With TV cameras rolling, he eagerly dumps a bucket of bait into the water and waits for his record-setting day to begin. Alas, the fish have other ideas. They swarm the boat and upend this lumberjack of the sea into the water. Shaping themselves into an arrow formation, the fish encourage Gus to follow them. In a puzzling turn of events, they decide to play games: tag, charades, chess. Gus thinks playing along will better his chances of catching them, but instead—and predictably—they become friends. The atmospheric gouache, colored pencil, and digital illustrations feature a muted palette of blues, grays, greens, browns, and black (with a splash of bright coral thrown in). Newcomer Cossack nods to the impossibility of it all: After a day of play, Gus throws in the towel on catching the fish and heads back home, because, “after all, he wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold his breath.” Gus presents white; no other humans are depicted.
Playful art, conventional story. (Picture book. 4-8)