Maggie de Vries
Tale of a Great White Fish - a Children's Book by Maggie de Vries

Tale of a Great White Fish

Big Fish is ancient and enormous. Many times in her long life she has barely escaped death. She is chased by predators and almost crushed in a rock slide. She swims away just in time when her lake home is drained. She is hooked by fishers and threatened by a mysterious disease. And always she faces starvation. Big Fish is a fighter. But how long will she and sturgeon like her continue to survive?

Big Fish started out as an egg in 1828 and still swims in the Fraser River today. She is now 20 feet long and weighs 1,698 pounds. Big Fish, of course, is fictional, but fish just like her do live in the Fraser River, fish that big and fish that old. I wrote Tale of a Great White Fish for the Rick Hansen Foundation, as Rick Hansen is deeply involved in protecting sturgeon and salmon in addition to spinal cord research. I knew almost nothing about sturgeon when I began, and today I am still learning. I studied the history of the Fraser River to determine what the main threats to sturgeon would have been over the years and I looked in particular at the intersections between sturgeon and human beings. We humans have been very hard on sturgeon as we have on so many other species, but today they are protected. A tagging program is in place. And slowly the numbers in the Fraser River are climbing.

The illustrator of Tale of a Great White Fish is Renné Benoit, an award-winning artist whose charming illustrations have delighted readers of many children’s books, such as Jason’s Journey and Goodbye to Griffith Street, which I edited and which won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize in 2005. Renné lives in the country in Southern Ontario with her husband and her two dogs.

© Maggie de Vries All rights reserved