Papa’s Mechanical Fishby Candace Fleming (author), Boris Kulikov (Illustrator)
“Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Fish?”
“Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr!” That was the sound of Papa working. Papa is an inventor but he has never really made anything that works perfectly. That is because he is looking for a truly fantastic idea!
So Papa twiddles his tools and pulls his hair! And he thinks a lot. But no “fantastic” idea will come to him! So he decides “Enough thinking! Let’s go fishing!”
As the family drop their fishing lines into Lake Michigan, the oldest daughter of the family, Vierna, asks him, “Papa, have you wondered what it is to be a fish?” And then a brilliant idea pops into Papa’s head and off he goes, rushing back to his workshop..
“Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr!” Papa is working hard in his workshop and out comes an “underwater vessel“!
But will it work??
Almost! Virena thinks again, and asks ” Papa, how does fish stay dry?” This makes Papa think and off he goes, back to his workshop and this time he comes up with many more improvements… and after many more questions from Virena and many more tries, Papa finally gets it right!
As the family sits down to celebrate, Virena wonders aloud “Papa, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a bird?”
“Clink! Clankety-bang! Thump-whirr!”
This is a fictional story based on the early work done on submarines by the real life inventor Lodner Phillips. In the summer of 1851, Papa (Lodner Phillips), the eccentric inventor, took his family on an expedition to Lake Michigan. But no one really knows what drove him to become “obsessed” with building a submarine.
“Papa’s Mechanical Fish” is a FUN story straight from the author’s imagination about what must have transpired during that time. The story reads well with simple language that flows with slight repetition to keep the story interesting. The Horn Book review says “Fleming’s telling is lively, humorous, and specific.” I couldn’t agree more!
The art work is remarkable. Bright and colorful, Kulikov’s playful and detailed illustrations draws you in. The play on perspectives and the full bleed drawings make for a fantastic picture book read.