Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story by A. Weiner

  • Sandy Campbell


Weiner, Andrew.  Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story. Harry N. Abrams, 2018. 

This is a beautifully illustrated book that tells a simple story about a boy, Art, who goes on a fly-fishing trip with his mother and grandfather. The story recalls a time when Art’s grandfather taught his mother to fish.  April Chu has used a subdued palette for her two-page riverine landscapes, with lots of green and rich autumn colours in the environment. The book has a calm and peaceful feel about it that mirrors the contemplative nature of fly-fishing. 

The text is simple and descriptive of a day spent on the river. The reading level is too difficult for the intended Kindergarten to Grade 2 audience, so an adult will need to read the book aloud, especially those sentences that could confuse young readers with difficult concepts or complicated jargon: “The line arced forward and the fly landed softly a few feet above the rock. It drifted with the current past the rock. There was a splash and the line went tight.” 

The last three pages contain information about fly fishing, the clothing worn by fly fishers and where to get more information about the sport. The end pages are decorated with images of intricate flys with such fun and mysterious names as: “Ian’s Crunch Caddis,” “Black Fur Ant,” and “Purple Parachute Adams.”

This book is a good introduction to fly fishing for younger children that also tells a charming story. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.

Highly Recommended: 4 stars out of 4
Reviewer:  Sandy Campbell

Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines. Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. 

How to Cite
CampbellS. (2019). Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story by A. Weiner. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 8(3).
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