Genre: Young Adult, Fables
Reading Challenges: 12 for 100+ in 2009
After finishing this little book (it is a very quick read, only about 40 pages), I found myself feeling somewhat dissatisfied. The book tells the story of a family; a fisherman, his wife, and their two small children, a boy and a girl. The children of the fisherman love to watch their father fish, and the little boy especially longs to catch the beautiful fish that his father seems to capture with ease. The father sternly reproves his son for trying to cast in his line by himself, an action which almost causes the son to fall into the swift current of the river. The father's stern words and gruff nature cause problems between himself and his son, and eventually lead the boy to answer the call of the lake and find himself a prisoner of a great glass fish.
There were several passages of downright beautiful writing in this book. I loved how the author described the boys eyes as, "full of leaping fish and rainbows." In some ways, I do appreciate the message that the author was trying to get across, that we must allow our children to experience things and we can't shelter them from life because we are afraid for them. However, in this case, I felt that this fable was fundamentally flawed. I am currently in the process of raising a toddler. While I do try to let my child have many varied experiences, and to maintain my patience, there are times when I do raise my voice and sternly discipline her for her own safety. I was troubled that the fisherman was portrayed as somehow an unkind parent because he was angry at his son for not taking the dangers of the river seriously. I found myself agreeing with the fisherman when he told his wife that, "discipline is love." I was also bothered that the fisherman's wife seemed to blame him entirely for everything that had happened, and that she was untroubled about the disobedience of her son.
In conclusion, I do feel that this author has some talent, and I would be interested to read what he writes in the future. I cannot however recommend this book as I don't agree with the moral of the story.