Gillnetter Girls by author/illustrator Mollie Ginther takes readers along for a summer of salmon fishing in Alaska with young Ani, Mama, and their seafaring feline, BB Cat. The picture book’s lively artwork captures details of daily adventures aboard their boat while fishing, visiting with fellow fisherfolk, and riding out storms, as well as explorations onshore as they pick berries, examine tide pools, and find treasures on the beach.
|Gillnetter Girls by Mollie Ginther|
The text and the illustrations are as interesting as they are informational. Ginther’s drawings give her characters a feeling of energy and motion, with a variety of perspectives and unexpected details that draw the reader into each page. Illustrated insets on some pages provide extra information, such as the parts of a gillnet, or interesting details, one of my favorites being a warning pile of bear poo.
|Gillnet with inset details|
Several full-page pictures accurately depict specific animals or plants, such as species of salmon, seaweed and kelp, and jellyfish. The information presented throughout the book is never heavy-handed; it flows naturally from the text and art as the days roll by.
|Seaweed and kelp illustrations|
The text is appropriately spare for a picture book and doesn’t try to do too much. While the story is slight — a simple accumulation of small events during the summer’s fishing — because it begins and ends with a season it feels satisfyingly complete. The everyday experiences will be unique and of interest to most children and adults.
|Setting out for a new season of fishing!|
Ginther uses an attractive, narrow border to contain the activities of each day to their respective pages, as well as enough white space to give the illustrations plenty of fresh, open air. Text integrates clearly with the illustrations, which complement and extend the text.
Gillnetter Girls will leave readers with a new appreciation for a unique way of livelihood -- and feeling like they’ve been on a grand summer adventure!
A brief glossary is included. Of interest to ages 4 to 7. Published 2020 by Orange Hat Press.