The Cod's Tale

The Cod's Tale

by Mark Kurlansky, S. D. Schindler, Eileen Spinelli
     
 

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"Excellent ink drawings, brightened with colorful washes, illustrate incidents from the text with clarity, a flair for the dramatic, and a sense of humor." (Booklist, starred review)

"Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller. . . . Schindler's pictures, from serious to silly, add to the pleasure . . . . Readers of this title will never again look at fish and

Overview

"Excellent ink drawings, brightened with colorful washes, illustrate incidents from the text with clarity, a flair for the dramatic, and a sense of humor." (Booklist, starred review)

"Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller. . . . Schindler's pictures, from serious to silly, add to the pleasure . . . . Readers of this title will never again look at fish and chips in quite the same way." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Breezy, kid-friendly prose. . . . Fascinating and informative . . . bound to hook young readers." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Cod's Tale:
*"Contributing enormously to the book's visual appeal, Schindler's excellent ink drawings, brightened with colorful washes, illustrate incidents from the text with clarity, a flair for the dramatic, and a sense of humor."
—Booklist, starred review
"A welcome and intriguing addition to library shelves."
School Library Journal
"Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller. . . . Schindler's pictures, from serious to silly, add to the pleasure . . . . Readers of this title will never again look at fish and chips in quite the same way."
Kirkus Reviews
"Breezy, kid-friendly prose. . . . Fascinating and informative . . . bound to hook young readers."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Publishers Weekly
In this concise and informative adaptation of his book for adults, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, Kurlansky traces the role that the once plentiful Atlantic cod has played in the history of North America and Europe. After describing the habits and habitat of this fish, the author explains its importance to both the survival and the economy of various peoples the Vikings, the Basques, European explorers, subsequent North Atlantic colonists and 20th-century Americans as well as its role in the slave trade and even Columbus's 1492 voyage to America. Sprinkled throughout are some lively historical anecdotes and quotes from books from various periods. Translating his 300-plus page book to a picture book for young people, Kurlansky's narrative becomes somewhat murky or misleading at times (as when he notes that, unlike the original American colonies, those to the far north, such as Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland, remained loyal to the British Empire: "It was too cold to fish for cod in their northern winters and so they did not develop as prosperous an economy as had given the lower thirteen a feeling of independence"). But a timeline running along the bottom of each spread and the clever conceit of following the fish through history will keep readers on track. Schindler's (Gold Fever) watercolor-and-ink illustrations effectively depict the changing eras, and humorous particulars perk up the narrative. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The humble codfish is here shown as a creature of vital importance in the history of the North Atlantic. After a summary of the characteristics and life cycle of the cod, Kurlansky details its relationship with the Vikings, the Basques, other explorers, the early settlers, the slave trade and the American Revolution. Changes in technology have led to the decimation of the once numerous cod. The author shows us what a tragedy this is, in a "fact' book that presents accurate information in a wonderfully imaginative way, both verbally and visually. Schindler's colored drawings are detailed and naturalistic with a sly, humorous style. Page designs vary according to the part of the story being told, from double pages for a whale hunt to action vignettes of the technique of salting the fish. Charts, maps, quotations and even recipes are integrated into the design, while a time line runs along the bottom of the pages, and there is a bibliography as well. Don't miss the Japanese fish print on the endpapers. 2001, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99. Ages 6 to 11. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Kurlansky seems to have a love affair with cod. His adult book, Cod (Walker, 1997), explored the role of this underestimated fish in world affairs. Here, with the help of an illustrator, he has employed much of the same information to fashion an interesting and readable book for children. He gives some standard facts and figures about these fish: how big they grow, how many eggs they hatch, and how they survive. But the book is much more than this. Time lines show the impact of cod fishing on scores of historical events. It is credited with bringing the Vikings to the New World, and the Basques were so proficient at it that they were able to trade their catch for other valuable necessities; and dried cod literally fed the slave trade. The story is brought up to the 20th century with the effect of vacuum freezing on the industry. Intertwined with these fascinating facts is the author's plea for changes in the international fishing laws. The excellent-quality, watercolor cartoons move the story along; the chockablock page design is a tad busy, but all of the added information, such as the old recipes provided in illustrated boxes and useful time lines across the spreads, is clearly and attractively delivered. A welcome and intriguing addition to library shelves.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An awesome introduction for young readers to the Atlantic codfish by the author of the bestselling adult title, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1997). The readable narrative is coupled with handsome paintings of majestic codfish and often-humorous sketches of early explorers, fishermen, cooks, and historical figures. The author describes how the cod was to become: "not only the most commonly eaten fish in the Western world, but also one of the most valuable items of trade. Valued like gold or oil, cod played a central role in the history of North America and Europe." He includes information on life cycle and anatomy, enemies, where cod is found, and how it was caught, from early Viking days to the present. He describes how dried and salted cod became the staple food of the Vikings, the Basques, and other early explorers, permitting longer sea voyages. How it saved the lives of early settlers, and became an important currency in the slave trade; fueled prosperity for the 13 colonies; and was a bone of contention in the Revolutionary War. Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller with great enthusiasm for his subject, and Schindler's pictures, from serious to silly, add to the pleasure. A timeline across the bottom of the pages helps to put everything in perspective and a terrific bibliography offers a variety of other reading (and recipes) for young and old. Readers of this title will never again look at fish and chips in quite the same way. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399234767
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
811,554
Product dimensions:
11.13(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
980L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for The Cod's Tale:
*"Contributing enormously to the book's visual appeal, Schindler's excellent ink drawings, brightened with colorful washes, illustrate incidents from the text with clarity, a flair for the dramatic, and a sense of humor."
Booklist, starred review
"A welcome and intriguing addition to library shelves."
School Library Journal
"Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller. . . . Schindler's pictures, from serious to silly, add to the pleasure . . . . Readers of this title will never again look at fish and chips in quite the same way."
Kirkus Reviews
"Breezy, kid-friendly prose. . . . Fascinating and informative . . . bound to hook young readers."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Meet the Author

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of many books, including The Food of a Younger Land, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World; Salt: A World History; 1968: The Year That Rocked the World; and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell. He lives in New York City.
S. D. Schindler lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, NY
Date of Birth:
December 7, 1948
Place of Birth:
Hartford, CT
Education:
Butler University, B.A. in Theater, 1970

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