4 out of 4 stars
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Never underestimate the effect that one good person can have on the world. Serving as a reminder of that is the role the titular fisherman plays in The Fisherman and His Foundlings by Phillip Leighton-Daly. The death of his wife 10 years ago hasn't stopped him from completing his daily routine of fishing and bringing part of his catch to a leper colony. He's loved by everyone there not only because of the bounty he brings with him but also because of his good works and kindness.
The journey to the leper colony isn't the most treacherous part of the old man's journey. The waters where he does his fishing, especially when the winds pick up and a maelstrom forms. But even a maelstrom is tame compared to the merfolk that hide beneath the water. All of the merfolk hate the "land folk" aside from one, a young merchild who pities the old man. For her pity, she's sent to the land as bait for the old man. Will his kindness cost him his life?
I really enjoyed the story of The Fisherman and His Foundlings. Phillip did a remarkable job of showing a good, hardworking man and how much he changed the world around him. He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the merfolk who hated the land folk for stealing treasure from the oceans despite their own greed and bloodlust.
The artwork in the book is excellent as well. JRaphael Edmundo Honasan did an awesome job with capturing the treacherous landscapes, the beauty of the sea, the excitement of the people at the leper colony, and the assortment of characters. The writing is equally capable of painting the scenes throughout, and pairing them together is a sensory delight.
While The Fisherman and His Foundlings appears to be a children's book and it's recommended for kids in 2nd and 3rd grade, this is not a book children can read on their own. On the first and second pages alone I came across 9 words that would befuddle children of that age. I had to look the word "spume" up myself! I ran the first page through Grammarly, and it said that it's "likely to be understood by a reader who has at least a 7th-grade education (age 12)." As such, while this is a picture book, I wouldn't recommend it for younger children unless you want to help improve their vocabulary and are willing to read it with them.
My rating of The Fisherman and His Foundlings is 4 out of 4 stars. I'd recommend it for the encouragement to be a good person alone, but the writing and art are both excellent. There were moments of tension, kindness, joy, sadness, and fear, all of which are captured equally well. I did find a single error: the name "Peter" is mentioned but isn't capitalized. Going with the age recommendations from the previous paragraph, I'd suggest it to anyone who wants to instill kindness in their children or loves fishing, nature, a bit of fantasy, or water.
The Fisherman and his Foundlings
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