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

Tale of a Great White Fish
A Quill & Quire Review

Quill & Quire  "Maggie de Vries’s latest book wonderfully recreates the impressive tenacity of this species. Her writing is clean and straightforward, and she presents her information in a timeline format that is most effective…. We are both reading a work of non-fiction and indulging in the life story of a quiet heroine."

Tale of a Great White Fish
Review by Louise Donnelly

Rick Hansen remembers being on the banks of the Fraser River as a boy and witnessing the spectacular sight of an enormous fish leaping free of the muddy water. Today, he’s chairman of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and working to safeguard these "precious" fish—sturgeon—and their beleaguered aquatic ecosystem. Maggie de Vries evokes the precarious existence of the giant white sturgeon in Tale of a Great White Fish (Greystone $19.95). The heroine, Little Fish, is spawned in the late spring of 1828. Thirty years later she is Fish and, ripe now with thousands of eggs, begins the arduous journey upstream to release her eggs on the rocky river bottom where she was hatched. Eighty-five years later, over twelve feet long and weighing 800 pounds, Big Fish, the giant white sturgeon, is ready to spawn for the sixth time. This time "the riverbed shakes, water tumbles" and "other fish, alive and dead, fly past." The construction of a railway has caused the Hells Gate Slide and the falling rock changes the water flow. Big Fish searches for a new spawning ground. By 2005, at twenty feet long and close to 1700 pounds, Big Fish still miraculously endures despite pollution, scarcity of food and removal of vital sand and gravel from the river bottom. Renné Benoit, who illustrated Goodbye to Griffith Street, captures the two-century adventure of Big Fish and the epic struggle for survival of an ancient and magnificent creature.

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