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home : outdoors : fishing
May 23, 2018

2/9/2018 7:26:00 AM
Fish like a girl
'Down by the River' gives kids a look into fly fishing
Beckie Gaskill/lakeland times“Down by the River — a Family Fly Fishing Story” is a children’s picture book set to be released in March.
Beckie Gaskill/lakeland times

“Down by the River — a Family Fly Fishing Story” is a children’s picture book set to be released in March.

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer

Recently a colleague I met on the LinkedIn platform asked if I would like to read a copy of a children's book he had written about fly fishing. Being new to the sport myself, I thought it would be fun, and having always been the kind of person who thinks getting kids into outdoor pursuits early, I felt reviewing this book might be something of interest to readers. The book is entitled "Down by the River - A Family Fly Fishing Story" and is written by Andrew Weiner and illustrated by April Chu. It is set to go on sale March 6.

Weiner, who lives in Albany, Calif., has been fly fishing for decades and wrote this book as an introduction to the sport and also the connection it can build within a family.

The book's main character is Art. He loves to go fishing with his mom and grandpa.

The book starts out, even before the story, to catch the eye of every young reader. After all, kids love bugs, right? And fly fishing flies are made to look like various bugs. Both inside covers and their opposing pages are filled with different flies, complete with their names. My first thought was this could be a very nice learning tool for young anglers.

The book goes on teaching, but not in a heavy-handed way. The reader sees the stream and its surroundings through Art's eight-year-old eyes.

We see Art remembering everything his grandpa told him about how to hold the line, cast in just the right spot. The book itself is very simple, as it is meant for a young reader, or listener. But that is part of the beauty of the book. It also reminds of one thing - fishing can be simple. It can be just being out and enjoying nature, and those who come with you. Fishing is relationship-building, as Weiner's book shows in a way that is soft but dramatic. For those who fish, and who have had the luck to be taken fishing at a young age, or who have been able to take the next generation on that journey as well, this book will resonate and make the reader smile.

As with any children's book, the art can make or break the story. Chu, a long-time illustrator from Oakland, Calif., brings the story to life while still leaving enough to the imagination that a child can create their own story. The full color pages give the book a warm feel and bring the reader right into the outdoors.

After the story of Art's fishing adventure, Weiner presents the "meat" of fly fishing. Weiner introduces young anglers to the equipment of fly fishing as well as the clothing fly anglers wear. I see this book as a great introductory look at fly fishing and one that may expose even young kids to a great hobby that could follow them through the rest of their lives. Anything that can get a kid outdoors and discovering the world around them is a step in the right direction. "Down by the River - A Family Fly Fishing Story" is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers and will be available in March. For those with a budding outdoors kid in the family, it is a read I would recommend.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at bgaskill@lakelandtimes.com.

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