Fishtale
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Fishtale

by Hans Bauer, Catherine Masciola, Adam Verner
     
 

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What might have been an ordinary fishing trip becomes an unforgettable adventure when twelve-year-old Sawyer Brown pursues a legendary giant catfish and a stolen ring that may hold the key to his mother’s life.

Sawyer’s family runs a catfish farm in rural Mississippi. When his widowed mom gets sick after a pond “cat” swallows her wedding

Overview

What might have been an ordinary fishing trip becomes an unforgettable adventure when twelve-year-old Sawyer Brown pursues a legendary giant catfish and a stolen ring that may hold the key to his mother’s life.

Sawyer’s family runs a catfish farm in rural Mississippi. When his widowed mom gets sick after a pond “cat” swallows her wedding ring, Sawyer is sure the missing ring is to blame. Strange clues and a local myth convince him that the pond cat has become a meal for a far more challenging catch. He sets out with two friends and his stowaway little sister to solve the secret of the ring.

Journeying deep into a remote bayou, the foursome must rely on their wits and each other to navigate the teeming swamp, outsmart a sneaky poacher, and overcome their differences in pursuit of a colossal catfish. But this is no ordinary fish. This is Ol’ One Eye—the biggest, oldest, smartest, and meanest darn cat that ever swam the Yazoo River! And before long, the adventurers aren’t sure who is chasing who.

This is a fish tale that listeners won’t want to miss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bauer (the screenwriter behind Anaconda, Titan A.E., and other films) and Masciola debut with a story that pairs the childhood camaraderie and adventure of The Goonies with an atmospheric Mississippi Delta setting. Sawyer Brown, 12, is a devoted fisherman who lives with his widowed mother and younger sister, Elvira, on a catfish farm. When Sawyer’s mother falls ill after losing her wedding ring to a catfish, Sawyer is sure that retrieving the ring will save her—and save Elvira and himself from having to move in with his Aunt Sarah and know-it-all cousin, Truman. A longtime local, Moses, points Sawyer and his crew in the direction of Ol’ One Eye, the “biggest, oldest, smartest, and meanest durn cat that ever swum the Yazoo,” enticing them with the lure of treasure—maybe even a miracle. “Way I see it,” Moses tells Sawyer, “if you can catch that one-eyed monster, there ain’t nothin’ in life that can lick ya.” A persuasive Southern dialect, bits of cornball humor, and a dash of magic combine in a charming, larger-than-life fish story. Ages 10–up. Agent: Fonda Snyder, Alchemy Ink. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Four kids in rural Mississippi set out to catch an enormous, legendary catfish that gives them the chase of their lives in what can only be called "one heck of a fish tale." Since their father died in Vietnam, 12-year-old Sawyer and 9-year-old Elvira help their mother, Rose, run the family's catfish farm. After a catfish bites Rose's finger and swallows her wedding ring, she becomes ill. When Sawyer hears about Ol' One Eye, the "biggest, oldest, smartest, and meanest durn cat that ever swum the Yazoo," he falls under the mythic "Catfish Time" and believes if he catches Ol' One Eye, he will find Rose's missing ring and she will improve. Armed with a map, poles, tackle, a rowboat, bologna sandwiches and spunk, Sawyer, his best friend, his cousin and stowaway Elvira paddle up the Yazoo seeking the phantom catfish. Told in an easygoing, colloquial style, the fast-paced plot carries readers and the four unsuspecting pals along at a rapid clip as they chase and are chased by a humongous, predatory catfish that leads them through a deserted plantation and into a submerged riverboat. Realistic black-and-white spot art reinforces the fishing theme. Four feisty kids, one wily fish, creepy bayou atmosphere and a whopper of a tale. (map) (Adventure. 10-14)
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Sawyer Brown's mom is sick, and it is all because a catfish swallowed her wedding ring. Unfortunately, Sawyer has reason to believe that the catfish thief has become a meal for a much bigger catfish. Ol' One Eye, the biggest, oldest, smartest and meanest catfish ever to swim the Yazoo River, is the stuff of local legend, and most people believe he does not really exist, but Sawyer knows he will have to find the giant catfish and retrieve the wedding ring if his mother is going to survive. Sawyer, with the help of his little sister and two best friends, finds the fish and retrieves the ring; but they only narrowly escape becoming prey for the monster catfish themselves. Bauer and Masciola paint a vivid and colorful picture of life in rural Mississippi vaguely reminiscent of Moby Dick with this big fish story. Like Melville's classic, this story rambles off on multiple tangents; but for the reader interested in catfish fishing in the south, it is an interesting read. Sawyer Brown plays a good Captain Ahab, in search of his own great, white fish to fulfill a personal vendetta. This book is well suited to lovers of scientific nonfiction books and lovers of tall tales alike.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—When Sawyer's mother falls ill after a catfish manages to steal her wedding ring, the 12-year-old gets it into his head that the key to her health is recovering the ring. Sawyer sets out on an adventure with his buddy Nose, cousin Truman, and stowaway sister Elvira to capture the mystical monster catfish, Ol' One Eye, in the hopes that the "cat" has hidden the ring with its purported treasure. Ol' One Eye and the four fishers play a tremendous game of cat and mouse that leads all around the eerie swamp. Along the way they encounter flooded mansions, poachers, and a dilapidated boat, all the while hoping that the magical "Catfish time" will be real and provide this motley crew with the answers they need. With quick pacing, detailed description, creepy settings, and magical realism, Bauer and Masciola have woven a tale almost too tall to be believed. The congenial tone with which the story is told lends a feeling of friends swapping stories.—Naphtali L. Faris, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761462231
Publisher:
Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Hans Bauer is a photographer and screenwriter whose credits include Anaconda and Titan AE. He divides his time between Los Angeles and the Texas Hill Country. Fishtale is his first novel.

Catherine Masciola is a writer, artist, educator, and night-sky naturalist. She has taught at several universities and serves as a Night Sky Ambassador to the National Park Service. She resides near Palm Springs, California. Fishtale is her first novel.

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