Lobster Fishing on the Sea
by Maureen Hull
illustrated by Brenda Jones
$8.95, 32 pp, ages 4 – 8
Maureen Hull’s Lobster Fishing on the Sea is a warm and welcoming picture book that tells a story from the main character, Susan’s, perspective. Susan’s father is a lobster fisher and he takes her on a full-day adventure on his commercial fishing boat. From waking up, to working on the sea, and finally warming up by eating their catch for dinner, Susan’s experience outlines a day-in-the-life-of a Canadian lobster fisher.
Classroom Connections: One strength of Hull’s book is the balance of storyline versus informational text. Lots of contextual vocabulary (sea life, safety, fishing/boating terms) is a definite asset, as is the specific word choice (sculpins, lumpfish, rock eels; not just “fish”). Thus, this picture book would work well to introduce such vocabulary, or to demonstrate and explore the power of detail in writing. Also full of detail are Jones’ illustrations, which depict both apt character expression and picturesque Maritime landscapes via bright colours and warm hues. Although the illustrations themselves are of high quality, they may present as slightly young to some, at least compared to the level of difficulty of the text; therefore, this book may work best to share with children or to explore in an adult-led group (e.g., vocabulary lesson, theme-based project, guided reading). One visual aspect of the book that did present as less than ideal is the unconventional font and colour choice of the text; the words are brown or yellow on white and though the modern, funky font is visually appealing, it may be daunting for the target-audience to decode. Nevertheless, Lobster Fishing on the Sea is an expressive and relevant Canadian picture book. Author Maureen Hull has lived and worked as a lobster fisher for years in the Northumberland Strait. Illustrator Brenda Jones resides in Prince Edward Island. Their locality, as well as their obvious love for Eastern Canadian culture, community, and geography is a definite asset to the book’s authenticity and value for classroom use.
Review by Kimberley Siwak.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Nov/Dec 2012 issue.