A trip to my parents’ house is not complete without my kids begging my Dad to read Dooly and the Snortsnoot.
“Again?” he guffaws, popping open his eyes, slapping his forehead with his palm and dropping his jaw down into wide-mouthed shock.
“Yes! Yes!” they scream and giggle.
Everyone piles onto the couch, and we “Fee Fi Fo Fum” our way through this childhood classic of mine.
After the story, the kids “Fee Fi Fo Fum” their way through the rest of visit, periodically yelling out Dooly’s famous words at whichever adult (or dog) is nearest. When cued, we give our best Snortsnoot snarls and chase our little giants around the house.
Last winter, my dad didn’t just read my kids great stories, he wrote a few for them, too.
After a Sunday dinner with my parents and my brother’s family, my Dad gave both sets of grandkids their own copy of Come On, Fish, a rhyming tale that tells the story of two kids on a fishing trip with their Uncle/Great Uncle (Unkie, to all of us). “Fish we wanted, big not small/Though we hoped to catch them all.” However, in order to catch anything, the crew must shout out our family’s trademark fishing phrase: “Come on, fish!” And so the kids in the story (and the ones on our laps) do just this, over and over again.
With a little begging of my own, yesterday my Dad gave me permission to share Come On, Fish as part of my celebration of Picture Book Month here at PBH.
Come On, Fish
For Katy and Will/ For Ellie and Maddie
“Come! Let’s go fishing,” Unkie wrote.
“We’ll catch some whoppers,” read his note.
“The fish are begging for the bait,
Get here pronto! We can’t wait!”
So off we went to Unkie’s place,
With hats and raincoats, just in case.
We saw at once when we got near,
Unkie waiting on the pier.
His boat was pulled up on the rocks,
With fishing poles and a tackle box.
All kinds of gear with which to tinker—
Leader, hook, line and sinker.
We bravely climbed aboard the boat,
Life jackets zipped up to the throat.
“Shove off!” came the loud command,
And away we rowed from solid land.
Fish we wanted, big not small,
Though we hoped to catch them all.
Walleye, bluegill, bass and pike,
These are the kind of fish we like.
Sunfish, crappie, trout and perch—
These are the fish for which we search.
Unkie baited up each hook;
The wormies squirmed, the minnows shook.
Then in the water bobbers plopped;
We all sat still and talking stopped.
You must be quiet; you must wait,
For the hungry fish to take your bait.
But waiting, watching bobbers bob,
Is not enough to do the job.
If you want to catch them you can’t just wish,
You have to shout out, “COME ON, FISH!”
If they’re not biting you can’t pout,
It’s “COME ON, FISH!” you have to shout.
“Come on, fish. COME ON, FISH!”
“Can’t you hear us? COME ON, FISH!”
“Got one!” I heard my sister cry.
“I got one, too!” was my reply.
Those magic words sure did the trick,
We caught a lot; we caught them quick.
When YOU go fishing, don’t be shy,
Give these special words a try—
The secret thing we all must say,
To make the big ones come our way—
To catch a treat that tastes delicious,
We all must shout,
“COME ON, FISHES!”
–Jim Nies, 2013
Remember, if you post a comment about how you celebrate picture books on any of my posts in November, you will be entered to win a free copy of any book I have blogged about this year.
Happy reading! –Abby