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Hand Over Hand Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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In this deceptively complex 24-page book, Fullerton has filled her simple words, repeated phrases, and clear dialogue with the possibility for many interpretations. Children can achieve their goals. Girls can do anything they set their minds to. Be self-sufficient, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finish what you start. Don’t give up. Children and adults alike will be able to choose the message that speaks to them, and one surely will.... Hand Over Hand is a perfect read-aloud book for groups of younger children. The illustrations are uncomplicated but still eye-catching, the text is poetic, and the book truly has something to say. (CM: Canadian Review of Materials)
The gentle text pairs well with the equally gentle watercolor illustrations, bringing to life a quiet Filipino fishing village. This aesthetic works flawlessly with the overall theme of “hand over hand,” that patience and persistence will quietly guide readers to achieve their goals. (School Library Journal)
Fullerton presents a vignette of traditional Filipino culture with a modern twist. Sounds of the sea and the boat's movements, repetition of the title phrase, sharp descriptive phrases, and simple dialogue, all in a gentle, unhurried third-person narrative, lovingly evoke the setting and the tender intergenerational relationship. Benoit's watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the look of the islands with color and softly defined details. Love between Nina and old Lolo shines in their body language and expressions. A sweet tale that is both culturally specific and universal. (Kirkus Reviews)
Hand Over Hand is a story of empowerment and determination when faced with naysayers and traditions that keep opportunities at bay. Alma Fullerton’s simple story is loaded with lessons in seeing beyond gender, of courage to take on new struggles, both emotional and physical, and of the amazing things that can be accomplished with a supportive hand. (CanLit for Little Canadians)
An original and consistently entertaining story by Alma Fullerton that is colorfully and charmingly illustrated by Renné Benoit, "Hand Over Hand" is especially recommended for children ages 5 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. (Midwest Book Review)
Not only does Hand Over Hand depict a young girl successfully pushing against gender role expectations, Nina and Lolo’s loving relationship shows just how much can be accomplished through trust and patience.... A gently compelling story, Hand Over Hand is highly recommended for readers of all ages and is especially well-suited to being read aloud. (National Reading Campaign)
The Filipino villagers laughed. "Girls can't fish. Their place is on the shore!"
Top customer reviews
Lovely picture book about a little girl who’s tired of being stuck on shore, drying fish (women’s work), when she’s dying to go out fishing! I found that Lolo is Filipino for Grandfather, but it isn’t clarified here whether they are related or whether it's an honorary title, like Uncle or Auntie.
She’s sitting, dejected with racks of fish drying behind her.
“On the shores
of a Filipino fishing village
an old banca boat rocks
as waves lick its keel.
When Lolo comes down to the boat, she helps him load it and asks to go, but Lolo says it’s a long hard day.
“’A boat is not the place for a girl.
Your job is on shore.’
‘But I have no more fish to dry,
and with two of us we can catch
twice as many fish to sell
at the market tomorrow,’ Nina says.
‘You’ll bait your own hook?’ Lolo asks.
‘Yes!’ Nina answers.
‘And remove your own fish?’ Lolo asks.
‘Yes! Yes!’ Nina answers.
‘Okay, we will try it. Just for today.’”
Ah, the persistence of the young! He teaches her how to paddle, how to bait the hook, and how to pull fish in.
“Hand over hand. Fish after fish.”
But . . . it’s Lolo who’s catching all the fish and filling the buckets. Poor little Nina hasn’t had a bite. Will she ever have a chance to try hand over hand?
No luck, until . . . but I shouldn't spoil the story, should I? :)
Trust me, you’ll enjoy the gentle lesson and the lovely illustrations.
[My Goodreads review includes a picture of Nina and Lolo.]
There are simple, repetitive phrases, words that have nice sounds for kids to have fun with, and well placed print that trails along the pictures for easy reading.
Of course, I liked the story! I was a little girl who liked to go fishing, too!
I must say, I was immediately reminded of Ernest Hemingway's famous story "The Old Man and the Sea", which I reread recently and enjoyed as much as ever. The Boy couldn't go with the Old Man, but he helped as much as he could. I also reviewed that and recommend it (for other reasons!):
Thanks to NetGalley and Second Story Press for the colourful preview copy from which I’ve copied a few quotes. Delightful addition to bookshelves for multi-cultural and equality stories.
Out on the boat, Lolo reels in fish after fish, hand over hand. Nina begins to wonder whether the men were right. Why isn't she catching any fish? Her grandfather dismisses this idea since the fish don't know she's a girl. While pulling in her line to check the bait, she catches a huge fish that pulls out her full line. She struggles to pull it in, and she doubts herself, asking her grandfather for help. And this is my favorite part - he doesn't help. He tells her it's her fight, and she eventually hauls in the giant fish. When they get back to shore late, all of the fishermen are shocked that Nina caught that fish.
This book is so great on many levels - the cultural story of the Philippines, the relationship between grandfather and grand-daughter, the gender stereotype discussion, and the message of empowerment. I really enjoyed it!
Blog: Mom's Radius
Nina is a young Philipino girl who wants to go fishing on the banco boat with her Lolo (grandfather). She is told that it is no place for a girl. She continues to ask and tells him she will bait her own hook, and bring in her own catch and he finally relents. Everyone laughs at them and tells him that a girl does not belong on a banco boat, but off they go. He patiently teaches her how to paddle, bait her hook, and bring in the line "hand over hand". She waits and waits as Lolo fills the buckets with fish and she gets nothing on her line until .......
The illustrations are wonderful. They are colourful, simple watercolours that do a wonderful job showing their expressions as well as the scenery. The warmth between Nina and Lolo is quite evident. A great book for family libraries as well as schools, classrooms and public libraries.
My grandson did not understand why girls needed to stay on shore; why couldn’t they fish. Perhaps this is because he lives in the US with younger sisters who do just about everything including fishing with his dad and him. He whole heartily understood and agreed the subtle but meaningful idea that the fish couldn’t see who was holding the line; young, old, male, or female. So maybe the lesson is not for the young but for those older like the men who told her Lolo that she couldn’t do what was considered men’s work.
The publisher through Net Galley provided a copy.