Jangles: A Big Fish Story
by David Shannon; illus. by the author
Primary Blue Sky/Scholastic 32 pp.
10/12 978-0-545-14312-7 $17.99 g
Shannon takes the one-that-got-away story and spins it out into a big-fish tall tale as recounted by a father to his son. Jangles, the legendary trout of Big Lake, had “broken so many fishing lines that his huge, crooked jaw was covered with shiny metal lures and rusty old fishhooks of all shapes and sizes. They clinked and clattered as he swam.” (Hence his name.) The over-the-top profile of trout-as-predator (“he ate eagles from the trees that hung out over the lake and full-grown beavers that strayed too far from home”) is tempered by examples of his benevolence (he once saved a baby from drowning) and by the narrator’s own purported childhood encounter with the fish. Jangles had transported the awestruck youth down to his cave at the bottom of the lake, then proceeded to tell him incredible stories. After such a memorable encounter, who could then catch the storyteller and fry him up? (The lad considers it but, in the end, he does the right thing.) Working with a palette as dark and evocative as the depths in which his elusive character dwells, Shannon provides formidable close-up views of battle-scarred Jangles, a larger-than-life character with a memorable tale.
From the September/October 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.