WISSINGER, Tamera Will. Gone Fishing. illus. by Matthew Cordell. 120p. bibliog. glossary. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-547-82011-8. LC 2012032796.
Gr 1-4–This novel in verse successfully builds a story filled with anticipation, family humor, and sibling rivalry. Wissinger adroitly uses a variety of poetic forms to express nine-year-old Sam’s excitement about an upcoming outing with his father: “Hip-hip, hooray!/It’s fishing day./Yo-ho yippee!/Just Dad and me.” To Sam’s consternation, his annoying little sister decides that she wants to go, too. She packs for the trip by filling Sam’s tackle box with her toys. “Where’s my stringer?/Something’s wrong!/The princess doll does not belong!” Sam is even more despondent when her singing helps her catch a handful of fish even before he has caught one. The trip vastly improves when he lands a sizable catfish, leading Lucy to gush with pride for him. “You caught one Sam!/Lucy scoots close to me./A big one, too!/I didn’t even look/when she caught/her first fish./But she cheered for me/Maybe I was wrong/about bringing her along.” Teachers will appreciate the seamless introduction to different poetic forms including rhyming lists, concrete poems, ballads, and haiku. Wissinger deftly plies her craft to ensure that the use of poetry enhances the readability of the story. She includes a “Poet’s Tackle Box” to complete this solid introduction to poetic form. Cordell’s whimsical line drawings complement the poetry by capturing the adventurous spirit and humor that this story demands. Hearing it aloud, children will appreciate the rollicking tale and the lyrical verse, while young readers will be able to enjoy the book independently. This book might inspire some to pursue an interest in fishing, but it will surely encourage all of them to delve into the world of poetry.–Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY