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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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home : outdoors : outdoor news
February 23, 2018

2/10/2018 7:26:00 AM
Fish like a girl
'Down by the River' gives kids a look into fly fishing

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer

Recently a colleague I met on the LinkedIn platform asked if I would like to read a copy of a children's book he wrote about fly fishing.

Being new to the sport, I thought it would be fun to learn more about it.

Also, being the kind of person who thinks it's a good idea to get kids into outdoor pursuits early, I felt reviewing this book might be something of interest to readers.

The book is entitled "Down by the River - A Family Fly Fishing Story" and is written by Andrew Weiner and illustrated by April Chu. It is set to go on sale March 6.

Weiner, who lives in Albany, Calif., has been fly fishing for decades and wrote this book as an introduction to the sport and the connection it can build within a family.

The book's main character is Art. He loves to go fishing with his mom and grandpa.

The book catches the eye even before the story starts. After all, kids love bugs, right? And fly fishing flies are made to look like various bugs. Both inside covers and their opposing pages are filled with different flies, complete with their names. My first thought was this could be a very nice learning tool for young anglers.

The book offers a lot of good lessons but not in a heavy-handed way.

The reader sees the stream and its surroundings through Art's eight-year-old eyes.

We see Art remembering everything his grandpa told him about how to hold the line, cast in just the right spot. The book itself is very simple, as it is meant for a young reader, or listener. But that is part of the beauty of the book. It also reminds of one thing - fishing can be simple. It can just be being out and about enjoying nature, and those who come with you. Fishing is relationship-building, as Weiner's book shows, in a way that is soft but dramatic. For those who fish, and who have been lucky enough to be taken fishing at a young age, or who have been able to take the next generation on that journey as well, this book will resonate and make the reader smile.

As with any children's book, the art can make or break the story. Chu, a long-time illustrator from Oakland, Calif., brings the story to life while still leaving enough to the imagination so that children can create their own story. The full color pages give the book a warm feel and bring the reader right into the outdoors.

After the story of Art's fishing adventure, Weiner presents the "meat" of fly fishing. Weiner introduces young anglers to the equipment of fly fishing as well as the clothing fly anglers wear. I see this book as a great introductory look at fly fishing and one that may expose young kids to a great hobby that could follow them through the rest of their lives. Anything that can get a kid outdoors and discovering the world around them is a step in the right direction. "Down by the River - A Family Fly Fishing Story" is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers and will be available in March. For those with a budding outdoors kid in the family, this is a read I would recommend.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at

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