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Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse


4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,666 ratings  ·  338 reviews
Using a wide variety of poetic forms – quatrains, ballads, iambic meter, rhyming lists, concrete poetry, tercets and free verse –this debut author tells the story of a nine-year-old boy’s day of fishing. Sibling rivalry, the bond between father and son, the excitement – and difficulty -- of fishing all add up to a day of adventure any child would want to experience.

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  1,666 ratings  ·  338 reviews

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Lauren Waters
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this novel in verse describing a day of fishing originally meant for father and son before a little sister ends up tagging along. I especially enjoyed the poet's tackle box at the end of the novel describing the different types of figurative language and types of poems used throughout the novel.
Alison Strandell
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This Bluestem nominee is adorable. The author utilizes various types of POETRY in a fun and engaging way, concrete to free verse, from the perspectives of Dad, Sam, and Lucy. Wissinger tells the reader about the hobby of fishing, family bonds, and sibling rivalry. My third grade cousin got a big kick out of this book, fisherman or not.
Teresa Grabs
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story of how a brother and sister, thrown together on a fishing trip, learn what it means to be a family. What started out being planned as a father and son fishing trip, soon included little sister. In the end, it's the family memories and bonds that make life (and fishing) all the more fun.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Delightful! I'm a fan of novels in verse, but they are usually geared towards middle grades and up. Here, Wissinger gives us a marvelous collection of poems all about Sam and his day of fishing with his dad and sister, Lucy. From the beginning, when Lucy borrows Sam's fishing great to play pretend with her dolls to the end, when Sam realizes bringing Lucy along wasn't such a bad thing after all, Gone Fishing is a great story. Young readers will identify with Sam's feelings towards his sister, yo ...more
Audrey Smith
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This quick-paced story in verse retells a father and son fishing trip interrupted by Sam's little sister Lucy. Wissinger eloquently exposes readers to varying styles of poetry and poetic elements, subtitling each poem with the poetic form it is written in. Each poem advances the narrative of a day on the lake and resonates the battles of a typical sibling rivalry. The book concludes with an excellent "Poet's Tackle Box," describing poetry techniques and forms, and giving examples of where each w ...more
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love that these are real poems, not just one long broken lined story. Love the 'tackle box' lessons, and the bibliography, at the end. Liked the story. Didn't like the illustrations much, as James Stevenson does this style best and others are basically copying. I do think boys who don't think they like poems could like this, so, yay for a niche filled with something newer than the amazing Love That Dog (still the standard).
Jamie A. Swenson
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, poetry
This one's a catch! It's a fish story - about a boy, his dad, and GASP - his younger sister (who worms her way in) - on a fishing day out on the lake. It's told in (often) humorous verse. Perfect for reluctant readers, voracious readers, fisher-people, and poetry lovers -- this book may turn kids (and adults) into poetry lovers. The poems are labeled as to what type they are -- and there's fabulous back-matter which teachers with LOVE. Grades 3 - 6 / younger if used as a read aloud. FIVE STARS.
Tammy K
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an unexpected gem, one of the most creative and unique children's books I've read in a while! The story is weaved together via poetry told mainly from a young boy's perspective. With outdoor adventure, family relationships and a childlike sense of wonder, this book hits on several themes that made me reminisce about my own growing up years.

There are a vast amount of poetry forms used, but none of them feel forced or coerced. The simple, engaging illustrations support the story line, wh
Becky R.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
As far as teaching a variety of poetic forms, this book was great. The actual story isn't the main draw though.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
This is a wonderful story, created as a collection of different types of poems and designed to be entertaining and illustrative. I really enjoyed reading the book and I appreciated the additional lesson on the different types and components of poetry.

The illustrations were created using pen and ink with watercolor and really help to convey the emotions of Sam, Lucy, and their dad as well as depict the events of their fishing trip. I would have preferred them to be in color, but they
Aaron Freeman
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm572-books
Tamera Will Wissinger does a fantastic job creating one book that allows you to teach a variety of poetic forms while telling one story. It’s nice how it tells you what type of poem you are reading so you can use it as a stop point to discuss. On top of that I really just enjoyed the story. While I can’t really relate to the characters directly I can sympathize with all three at some point along the journey. The book Gone Fishing, is a story about a boy, his dad, and his younger sister on a fish ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This was cute. When I was a teacher, I was always looking for resources to teach poetry that weren't random poems in isolation, and I think this would have been an INCREDIBLE tool to use in the classroom, especially four 4th-5th grade. It reminded me a lot of Shel Silverstein but with a light plot and some sweet family moments.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great story about two siblings wanting to go fishing with their dad. The brother doesn't really want the sister to come but she does anyway but they end up having a great time. Later, they cook the fish and have a great meal while reflecting on the day. Its a very good book, and quick.
Anna Warren
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading this book I immediately thought of how it was going to make a very strong addition to my own classroom library. One of the things I enjoyed was exposing myself to this genre. I have never taken much time to explore novels in verse, and I am glad I took this recommendation. Each new verse builds on the previous one, and it's so comical to read from the point of view of little Sam...a young boy who has a real love and desire for fishing, yet gets held back waiting for his younger sis ...more
Alex  Baugh
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
Let's face it, Poetry isn't really a favorite of kids, nor is it something they get much of in school. I am afraid I am even guilty of it myself. I have reviewed at least 5 books on this blog and never added a poetry label, and only mentioned they were written in free verse (I will be correcting this oversight today!) Yet, hey are all excellent novels that can be used to introduce kids to poetry. And then there is the very amusing novel by Greg Pincus, The 14 Fibs of Gregory K, which has a boy p ...more
Crystal Bandel
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell, published 2013.

Realistic fiction.

Novel in verse, heavily illustrated.

Grades 1-4.

Found via School Library Journal, reviewed by Carole Phillips.

Gone Fishing is a novel told through poems, most of them composed by Sam, a young boy who just wants to go fishing with his father. However, unexpectedly his little sister asks to go along, which threatens to ruin his day but actually/>Gone
Holly Mueller
I thoroughly enjoyed this little book of poems that tell a story about a fishing trip from three points of view: Sam, the brother, Lucy, his annoying little sister, and their dad. Sam is so excited the night before his fishing trip with his dad. "Not Mom, not Grandpa, not Lucy...Just Dad and me." Lucy, however, has different ideas and talks her dad into letting her go, too. Matthew Cordell's illustrations show every dismayed and disappointed feelings in the expressions on Sam's face as he helps ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sam is super excited to go fishing with his dad. He begins preparing the night before by digging night crawlers and checking his tackle box. Wait a minute...his tackle box is full of princesses and perfume! Lucy, his little sister has obviously been messing around with his stuff. You can imagine his dismay when she gets up the next morning and begs their father to take her fishing too. Sam knows the trip is ruined now. Sure enough, Lucy makes a lot of noise and even sings to the fish! Yet someho ...more
Relying on a virtual poet's treasure chest of different poetic techniques and forms including haiku, limerick, list poems, an ode, and even a triolet, this delightful novel in verse will bring smiles to listeners' or readers' faces. In scenes familiar to many from their own experiences, nine-year-old Sam eagerly anticipates the fishing trip he and his father have planned. But his enthusiasm is considerably dampened when Lucy, his younger sister, joins them. To add insult to injury, she turns out ...more
Amanda Sun
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fantastic book that my 6-year-old and I wanted to read it in one sitting! (We settled for two--it was bedtime after all) The poems were really lovely and nicely constructed. Each one was labeled with the type of poem, which gave my daughter (and me!) a great and non-intrusive lesson into the wide variety of poems out there in the world.

My 6yo said this book was awesome, and as a parent, it was great to share some poetry with her. She learned how to read them aloud wit
Finally, I was able to read this book. What a joyful story-telling, in verse, with field-like sketches of what’s going on during the fishing time. The books tells about a young boy, Sam, who is so excited to be going fishing with his dad until his little sister, Lucy, talks Dad into coming, too. The jealousy of big brother to little sister keeps the tension going until at last Sam realizes that Lucy has done a nice thing for him, and he should be happy to have such a loving sister. Clever is wr ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun, fantastic verse novel. It would be a great addition to any upper elementary/middle school school teacher's library. Aside from telling the tale of a father/son fishing trip that's unexpectedly crashed by a little sister, this brief novel gives excellent explanations of the various poetic forms and figurative language techniques that it employs. Entertaining and accessible, I can see using this novel to introduce a poetry unit. I could also see it being read prior to a prose novel ...more
Demitria Lunetta
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Since I mostly read YA, I didn’t know how I would like this MG book, but I absolutely loved it. Gone Fishing explores many different types of poetry in a fun and interesting way. I love how the story unfolds, jumping from one type of poem to another. The illustrations work perfectly reminding me a bit of Roald Dahl’s. This book will definitely get younger children interested in poetry.

There are also extras at the back, telling you what each poem type is and the rules to writing that particular
Vidya Tiru
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My second novel in verse and a delight to tackle.. not that it means it is a hard read, just wanted to use a fishing term to describe what a great catch this book is! The characters are delightful and little Lucy is my favorite. The poems, rhymes, verse used in this book are many and varied and each one charms you in its own special way.
The author lets you know what style of verse each poem is written in and the end of the book includes brief descriptions of all the various styles used in
Naomi Kinsman
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gone Fishing is a delightful book that not only will entertain young readers with a compelling storyline, but will also introduce them to various forms of poetry. The basic story, formed around a sibling rivalry and a fishing trip, will be familiar to readers and also enough of an adventure to be exciting. All of the important elements of a fishing trip: the early start, the quiet on the lake, the waiting for a fish, the jealousy of watching someone else catch a fish first, and the joy of the tu ...more
Tracy Holczer
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about Gone Fishing? Only that this Junior Library Guild Selection will leave you turning pages, not just to find out how Sam comes to deal with his pesky little sister horning in on his fishing trip with his dad, but how all different manner of poetry is introduced to the reader. From free verse to couplets, interspersed with silly illustrations, this middle grade book of verse is accessible and engaging. Tamera Will Wissinger has created a collection of poetry reminiscent of Shel ...more
Kristin Aker Howell
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gone Fishing is three books in one. Not only is it an entertaining and heart-warming sibling tale, it’s a novel in verse. Younger readers have needed one for years, since most novels-in-verse are aimed at teens. To top it all off, teachers will love the “Poet’s Tackle Box” which explains the forms and techniques used in the book. The poetry in Gone Fishing is so well done, it doesn’t get in the way of the story. As I read the beginning to some second and third graders today, they tugged the book ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great story about Sam and his Dad getting ready for a special fishing trip. But what happens when Sam's pesky little sister Lucy want to come along?

I loved the different forms of poetry verse and the illustrations. A another great way to introduce poetry in the classroom. The notes at the back that explained the different types of poetry were awesome!
Use this book and the "Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary" and you have a great poetry unit ready to go!
K.A. Barson
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is fabulous. It's perfect for the classroom because both teachers and kids will love it. The story and characters are real and fun, so kids will want to read it. It's got massive boy appeal, too.

The poetry is solid--and there's a guide in the back on the types of poetry and poetry techniques--so teachers can use it on many levels. The illustrations add a lot to the book, too. It's a must-read for any middle grader learning to read on his/her own. Great read aloud book, too!!
Polly Holyoke
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was such a charming read! The author truly captures the excitement and anticipation children feel before special events in their lives. The relationship between the brother and sister was touching and funny, too. The information on poetry in the back of the book was excellent as well. I think this is going to be a big hit with librarians and teachers and middlegrade readers.
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Tamera Wissinger writes stories and poetry for children. Her book Gone Fishing: A Novel In Verse, HMH, is an ALSC 2014 Notable Children's Book, a Children's Book Committee 2014 Best Children's Book of the Year, and an International Reading Association 2014 Teachers Choice Book. This Old Band, a counting concept book from Sky Pony Press is a 2015 Read to the Rhythm selection, and a 2014 Southwester ...more

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