Peter, Santiago and Ahab are fishermen through and through. The sea is the place where they spend their lives. Still, they have dreams of other places and when the sea is gentle the fishermen talk of
Peter, Santiago and Ahab are fishermen through and through. The sea is the place where they spend their lives. Still, they have dreams of other places and when the sea is gentle the fishermen talk of those fantasies — of sand dunes and camels, of hot-air balloons high up in the clouds, of fields full of rainbow-coloured tulips.
On one of those dreamy days the fishermen make an extra special catch — a lobster as white as the clouds of Santiago's daydreams. Never before have they seen anything this extraordinary and beautiful! Surely this is a catch that should be shared with all! When word of the special lobster makes its way to photographers, marine biologists and reporters they all come to the village to see for themselves and share the story with their followers. Peter, Santiago and Ahab are eventually offered money for the lobster! As if such an extraordinary creature was theirs to sell!! The final offer is for more money than any of them could have ever imagined — a sum that would allow them to achieve their life dreams. But the fisherman realize it is impossible to imagine their life without the water and the sound of the seagulls overhead — and they need to return their special catch back to the freedom of its own watery world.
View Biographical note
Colleen Sydor is the author of several books for young readers including The McGillicuddy Book of Personal Records and Timmerman was Here. She lives in Winnipeg.
Brooke Kerrigan is the illustrator of Kiss Me, I'm a Prince! and Dog Days. She alternates between her homes in Toronto and the French Alps.
View Review text
"The rhythm of each page lends itself to a read-aloud, with subtly repetitive phrases to encourage participation. The moral dilemma of the fishermen provides excellent starting points for discussion about sustainability and human interaction with the environment for both younger readers and their older counterparts."
— Canadian Children's Book News
"Sydor's writing style is captivating and descriptive. Her similes provide vivid images in the reader's mind; for example, Sydor describes the fishermen "as weathered as a twisted stick of driftwood." Popeye (the Sailor Man cartoon character) fans and those familiar with old sailing jargon will recognize the "Blow me down!" idiom that is used several times throughout the book.
Kerrigan's creative use of pencil drawings and watercolours provides depth and a sense of realism to each illustration. Vast cloud filled skies, the fishermen's shadows from the moonlight, and a field of tulips and an ocean that appears to go on for miles help bring the illustrations to life. Fine details are found in the patterned garments, blankets, and window coverings.
In the three fishermen's dreams of "things other than fish, knotted nets, and saltwater," their fishing identity remains evident in Kerrigan's illustrations. From Peter's anchor tattoo on his right arm to the anchor tied to the hot air balloon that Santiago is riding in, to the fish poking out of Ahab's pocket, the reader is reminded that, even in the men's dreams, they were fishermen through and through.
— CM Magazine
View Promotional headline
The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design, Honorable Mention: Children's Category
2016 Blue Spruce Award nominee
Storytelling World Awards: Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners winner