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Fish Finelli (Book 1): Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles Hardcover – April 16, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Fish Finelli wants nothing more from the summer before fifth grade than to fix up his boat with a supercharged Seagull motor and win Whooping Hollow's annual Captain Kidd Classic boat race. A new Seagull costs more than 50 bucks, and Fish has only saved up $27.51. When local bully Bryce Billings baits Fish into a bet that he and his friends Roger and T.J. can't find Captain Kidd's fabled lost treasure, rumored to be buried somewhere near Whooping Hollow, Fish finds himself knee-deep in a mysterious pirate adventure with all his Seagull savings on the line. This light adventure novel's winning humor shines bright, brimming with nautical and pirate-themed wordplay and wisecracks. When Roger finds out that librarian Mr. E. Mann may have the treasure map, he cleverly observes, "Whoa! The librarian's got the booty!" Fish Finelli is well versed in almost everything but remains a relatable protagonist, never veering into know-it-all territory. Some readers may be put off by the characterization of Fish's overweight friend T.J., who is shown snacking in virtually every scene in which he appears; the joke gets old quickly, even when it moves the plot forward. Beene's full-page, black-and-white digital cartoons energetically accompany Fish's adventures. In the end, Farber never gets too wrapped up in the story's mystery aspects, tying up several loose ends relatively quickly. The narrative focuses instead on friendship and making the right choices, set against the backdrop of Captain Kidd's legend.-Ted McCoy, Oakland Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In a moment of bravado, Fish bets the town bully $50 he can find Captain Kidd’s lost treasure, which legend claims is buried on nearby Lyons Island. With the help of two friends and his vast knowledge of scientific facts, Fish does his best. With this first title in a series, Farber works hard to appeal to active, science-minded boys, with uneven results. The story is packed with humor and action, but the side characters feel underdeveloped, including wisecracking Roger, who has a New Age mother; and dense, affable T. J. with his never-ending supply of candy. Boats dominate local life and the boys’ adventures, while tried-and-true themes of coded maps, hiding under desks, and thwarting the rich bully appear throughout. Little is new in the series, but it helps meet the demand for transitional chapter books specifically written for boys. Full-page black-and-white illustrations add playfulness to the story, and sidebars offer up explanations for terms in the text (i.e., emu, Marco Polo). Grades 3-6. --Suzanne Harold
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Top Customer Reviews
It is hard to find a good book for my son (on the Autism spectrum) that doesn't make him upset. To him, too many books "go to the dark side," meaning they tackle tough themes and make him sad or angry. Fish Finelli however, is funny and full of adventure. It also appeals to his love of science with lots of little tidbits tossed into the sidebars to peak his interest and set him off researching new topics.
I love the fact that I can hand him a book that I know he will enjoy but will take something away from as well.
The author throws in quite a few scientific facts, which while they chop the narrative a bit, are helpful and a good springboard for doing some "research" with your kids. The story is shallow, as is the characterization, but that's about perfect for a 8-11 year old boy (especially one who fancies himself the class clown). It won't appeal to everyone, but I figure there are tons of books out there for girls, why not let the boys yuck it up once in a while?
We'll be looking for the next installment!
Other characters come off as cliché: the rich, obnoxious bully; the food-obsessed, generally clueless chubby friend; the mysterious shady character. The plot seems recycled as well: Fish and friends must find a pirate treasure before the mysterious librarian (spy?!?) does, or lose a bet with the resident baddy.
My daughter enjoyed the book, but we kept putting it down and not coming back to it for days at a time (while she has been known to inhale similarly lengthed books, including so-called "boy books" in one sitting).
“This is a historical document. It’s worth tons of money. It’s probably priceless.”
I like these boys. They’re rowdy, poke fun at each other, like bugs and everything else that is gross, and you can really tell they are good friends. These boys like to have fun and they might even get other kids thinking and using their imagination to play outside and go on their own adventures. I like how the author did real research about the pirate Captain Kidd and his long lost buried treasure. I know if I lived closer, I’d probably get my friends together and try and find it also. An added bonus is there are quite a lot of pictures in the book which can help push the story along for kids who might need something to look at besides words. I also read a lot of books and notice that most boy books are the same, but this is different and I think boys will like to read this for a change and girls too.
Reviewed by Avery
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review
*You can view the original review at San Francisco Book Review
I loved how it was funny and how the author put in little pieces of information if I and other children did not understand it. This truly was a great book because only if a book is real good I would review it.
I believe this book is good for an audience of fourth graders going to fifth grade or third graders going into fourth grade. This is because it has humor that only children of my age or around my age (ten years or less) would understand.Personally, I think this book is for both genders because I am a girl and I have read some reviews that boys liked it too.
DEFINITELY this book is a book to read!!!!!🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌
Packed with fun facts, fourth grade humor, and pirate treasure (what more could you want?) this is a great “read-to” for six and seven year olds, while kids ages eight and up will be reading it to themselves. Due to the simplicity of the plot however, I would say fourth grade is the limit as this book will come across as highly implausible to older kids.
The writing is clean and simple and Farber mostly uses dialogue to keep the story rolling. Fish, Roger, and T.J. sound like real boys, but there is no gross humor just “goose poop,” silly puns, secret codes, and acronyms. Scientific facts break up the narrative throughout and though mostly helpful and amusing, at times they become wearisome and gum up the pace of the story.
Overall: Love the factoids in the margins, the illustrations, and the laugh out loud boy humor. The plot is pretty simple and the characters one-dimensional, so I would draw the line at fourth grade; younger kids will be laughing while older ones will be rolling their eyes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From Charles Newport