Where were children’s books like Andrew Weiner’s, Down By The River, when my daughters were young and my wife and I would read to them at bed time?
Instead of a delightful account about fly fishing, I fed the kids a diet of Disney animals that wore clothing and talked like humans. Gotta’ confess, too, I even snuck in the occasional account about a porky pig that told the kids to be, “Vewy, vewy quiet. I am hunting for wascally wabbits”.
I still can’t believe I did that.
Enter Andrew Weiner’s, Down By The River, a thoroughly delightful book that teaches the facts about fly fishing and dispels stereotypes, without being obvious or preachy. I am not going to spoil it for you and give away too much of the simple storyline, but trust me on this: At the end, your child will know how to fly fish, what to wear and what equipment to use.
Mom has fished since she was a young girl and drives the car with Grandpa in the passenger’s seat, and it is all seen as the norm and not contrived. Catch and release is the natural thing to do, not something receiving special mention. The last picture depicts an intergenerational, interracial family continuing to go fishing together and continuing to build memories, which is essential to childhood because it is those memories that sustain us in adulthood.
The illustrations by April Chu are simplistic and yet, brilliant. They are realistic and will stimulate your budding angler’s mind and imagination. They augment the tale and don’t interfere with it.
You’re going to spend many pleasant moments reading this story to your children and grandchildren, exploring the pictures and wondering about them together. The images of the flies on the front and back inside covers alone will hold your child’s attention, while you examine and discuss each one.
Where were you Andrew Wiener when my girls were growing up?
Down By The River is must read for any parent or grandparent wishing to hook a child into the sport we all love so much.