These days in our house, a good measure of a children’s book is how quickly and totally it gets adapted to everyday play. There are some books that are read and absorbed and maybe even discussed, and then there are the Really Good and Influential Books where suddenly the boys are saying, “You be her and I’ll be him and Zuzu will be Princess Penelope” and then we have a whole day with Lollipop, or what have you.
That’s one reason why The Little Fisherman is working for us. We’ve had many days of Henry being the Big Fisherman and Eli being the Little Fisherman. But I’d be recommending it even if it weren’t for that. First of all, you’ve got Margaret Wise Brown. Who doesn’t love her? Now, I’ll be the first to admit that some of her books don’t work quite as well for me. I couldn’t get the rhythm of Big Red Barn until about the sixth time I read it. And My World only makes sense if you’re tripping (“Daddy’s kitty has gone to the city! How many stripes on a bumblebee?” Wha?). But kids love her no matter what. And then you’ve got Dahlov Ipcar, famous Maine artist, author of our beloved Lobsterman. Basically, you can’t go wrong with this book.
A big fisherman and a little fisherman go out to sea, one in a big boat, one in a little boat, to catch big and little fish, respectively. The whole thing is riveting, what with the big/little dichotomy, the wondrous pictures, and the fairly realistic fishing scenes (well, fairly realistic except for the fact that you’ve got two fishermen who are crazily different sizes) (I don’t know about your kids, but something about realistic fishing, or firemanning, or trainworking, does a lot for my kids, story-wise).