One Frozen Lake

Deborah Jo Larson, illus. by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Minnesota Historical Society, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-87351-866-6
Larson debuts with an atmospheric ode to ice fishing and intergenerational companionship, and she reels in a pair of pros as collaborators: Johnson and Fancher (It's Milking Time) fill their spreads with Woolrich-ready plaids, maps of lakes, lures, and vintage angler-themed advertisements, creating a setting that's both playful and attentive to the details of the sport. Larson's story follows a freckled boy and his grandfather as they set up their fishing site, drill holes in the ice, and wait. The unrhymed verse is suggestive of a counting book ("One frozen lake./ Two fishing friends./ Three bundles packed with/ Line, lures, and snacks"), but rather than building straight up to 10, Larson restarts the count three times ("One frozen lake./ One canvas shack"), making readers wait patiently (just like fishermen must) for the moment when the boy finally snags "A fish!/ Ten inches!/ A keeper!/ Yeah!" Even then, the story isn't quite over, and readers will come to recognize that a day spent in good company is more important than whether one's fishing bucket is full on the way home. Ages 3–7. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Genre: Children's
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