3 out of 4 stars
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Though classified in the Young Adult genre, I think The Fisherman's Foundling by Phillip Leighton - Daly fits better in the Children's books category, for three reasons. First the book has brightly colored and narrative reinforcing illustrations by JRaphael Edmundo Honasan. Besides, it has an enchanting and simplistic 'what you see is what you get' approach. Finally, the book takes the reader all of 30 minutes to complete!
A lonely and kind fisherman endures the grief of losing his wife by musing, immersing himself into fishing, and bringing the fish to a leper colony and orphanage. The joy and fulfillment he derives from serving the children and leper colony far outweigh the dangers inherent in the treacherous sea and the perilous path he had to travel through to accomplish his mission.
Not everyone applauds the fisherman's kindness, however. You see, for the hard-hearted and cruel merfolk who lived under the sea, being caring and kind amounts to being weak. Therefore, the merfolk queen hatches a plan to eliminate the old fisherman and have his bones decorate her palace. Can the fisherman outsmart her? And what will become of the merchild that the queen finds unworthy of the kingdom?
Using a conversational and often incredulous voice, the author weaves an enticing tale in the third person narration. The superb diction, metaphors, and adjectives thoroughly blend to weave a fascinating story backed by illustrations that bring descriptions to life. Indeed, the illustrations emphasize the adage - a picture is worth a thousand words. I enjoyed this most about the book.
Kindness is a strength that not only fulfills the holder's life but also ensures a legacy of peace and love. The book teaches this essential virtue to children in a realistic style. It also seems to have been professionally edited because I didn't come across any error. In fact, the expressions and word choices were impeccable and appealing. Sample this, 'She lay enthralled, listening to the tales of the great blue whales and their horrendous battles with the giant squid.'
All the same, I have two things against the book. First, there is no character development. Some of the characters simply appear from nowhere, and that is that! Then the book ends on an anti-climax. Everything about the story will draw in older children whose reading has progressed to improving comprehension and sentence structure skills. However, because this age also enjoys larger-than-life heroes, the book's ending may be somewhat disappointing to them. For these reasons, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars.
The confusing and unsatisfactory ending may be suitable for the more cynical young adult audience, yet the rest of the fairy tale isn't. I, therefore, recommend the book to children 7 – 10 years and adults who enjoy fairy tales.
The Fisherman and his Foundlings
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