Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 10
- Grade: 1 to 5
Peter, Santiago and Ahab are fishermen through and through. The sea is the place where they spend their lives. Still, they have dreams of other places and when the sea is gentle the fishermen talk of those fantasies — of sand dunes and camels, of hot-air balloons high up in the clouds, of fields full of rainbow-coloured tulips.
On one of those dreamy days the fishermen make an extra special catch — a lobster as white as the clouds of Santiago's daydreams. Never before have they seen anything this extraordinary and beautiful! Surely this is a catch that should be shared with all! When word of the special lobster makes its way to photographers, marine biologists and reporters they all come to the village to see for themselves and share the story with their followers. Peter, Santiago and Ahab are eventually offered money for the lobster! As if such an extraordinary creature was theirs to sell!! The final offer is for more money than any of them could have ever imagined — a sum that would allow them to achieve their life dreams. But the fisherman realize it is impossible to imagine their life without the water and the sound of the seagulls overhead — and they need to return their special catch back to the freedom of its own watery world.
About the authors
Colleen Sydor was born and raised in Winnipeg, where she lives with her husband and three children, and works as a writer and floral designer. She brings quick wit and a lively sense of language to her books for young readers. Four of her books have won the McNally Robinson Book For Young People award. Sydor's children have always been grist for her writer's mill. She finds that as they grow in feet and inches, so her stories are lengthening as well.
BROOKE KERRIGAN grew up surrounded by books and the love of art. Now she has illustrated more than a dozen books including Fishermen Through & Through, A Plan for Pops and the Blue Spruce Award Honour Books The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain and Kiss Me! I’m a Prince.
Her fun and whimsical illustrations are created in watercolour, gouache, pencil crayon and collage. Born and raised in Toronto, she now splits her time between Tiny, Ontario and a little town in the French Alps called Chamonix. Visit her at www.brookekerriganillustration.com.
"The rhythm of each page lends itself to a read-aloud, with subtly repetitive phrases to encourage participation. The moral dilemma of the fishermen provides excellent starting points for discussion about sustainability and human interaction with the environment for both younger readers and their older counterparts."
— Canadian Children's Book News
"Sydor's writing style is captivating and descriptive. Her similes provide vivid images in the reader's mind; for example, Sydor describes the fishermen "as weathered as a twisted stick of driftwood." Popeye (the Sailor Man cartoon character) fans and those familiar with old sailing jargon will recognize the "Blow me down!" idiom that is used several times throughout the book.
Kerrigan's creative use of pencil drawings and watercolours provides depth and a sense of realism to each illustration. Vast cloud filled skies, the fishermen's shadows from the moonlight, and a field of tulips and an ocean that appears to go on for miles help bring the illustrations to life. Fine details are found in the patterned garments, blankets, and window coverings.
In the three fishermen's dreams of "things other than fish, knotted nets, and saltwater," their fishing identity remains evident in Kerrigan's illustrations. From Peter's anchor tattoo on his right arm to the anchor tied to the hot air balloon that Santiago is riding in, to the fish poking out of Ahab's pocket, the reader is reminded that, even in the men's dreams, they were fishermen through and through.
— CM Magazine