Jack's First Fish, by Lou Tognola

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Jack is visiting his grandparents. He has never been fishing before but Granddad and he go out to dig some worms while Nanny fixes them a lunch to take with them. Jack, Nanny and Granddad go to a good fishing spot where they catch enough fish for supper. Jack has a lot to tell his parents when they telephone to see how he is enjoying his holiday.

Writer Tognola is Australian, a teacher, grandparent and a fisherman. These are all talents he puts to good use in his little book Jack’s First Fish. Tognola, together with illustrator Roberta Hubbard, has produced an enchanting publication sure to please youngsters and adults alike.

While the vocabulary is a tad difficult for the 5 – 8 set, Jack’s First Fish will lend itself well to ‘please read to me’ time. Children ages 9-11 should have little difficulty with vocabulary. A glossary of words and phrases in the back of the book will aid with some words kids may find difficult.

Two things I found particularly endearing when reading Jack’s First Fish were, first, a new word: YUM LICIOUS to describe how Jack’s fish tasted. The other is the fact that American, and perhaps other, children worldwide are introduced to a new concept or two while they are also shown that folks living in other countries often live very much as do we here in the U.S. Jam in the book comes in a tin, while in the U.S. it comes in glass and plastic jars or squeeze bottles. Hubbard’s drawings are a delight: grandfather’s truck is different than the ones most kids here in the U.S. know, however Grandpa’s cat, his fishing gear, Nanny’s kitchen and sofa and chair all resemble those kids outside Australia country know.

Each page of Jack’s First Fish contains both Italian and English verbiage. I like this from an educational standpoint. Whether parent or teacher speaks Italian or not children are introduced to another language and may well have their appetite for more of other cultures whetted from this introduction.
Good book for multi culture unit in middle grades, the home library and pleasure reading. Happy to recommend Jack’s First Fish.

Jack’s First Fish, by Lou Tognola
Writer’s Exchange Epublishing, 2003