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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
In Eli: Pride of the Yazoo River by Daniel E Brown, the folks of Sartartia, which is 34 miles northwest of Jackson Mississippi, have been trying to catch Eli, a legendary catfish, for about 20 years. Eli is strong. Eli is fast. Eli is cunning. Eli always escapes. The townsfolk are proud of him. But they still try to catch him. The only thing that riles them up is if somebody from out of town tries to catch him. Eli is their catfish. He weighs about 150 lbs. He can slice through a fishing line like a hot knife through soft butter. He looks like a submarine when he casts a shadow on the river bottom. He lives under their bridge, and all 68 residents of Sartartia have tried to catch him and failed.
Eli: Pride of the Yazoo River by Daniel E Brown is a charming whopper of a tale about the legendary catfish, Eli. The author can take his place next to Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County with elements like the contest, the pride, the challenge, and the humor. Eli has something more. Two of his would-be captors are students of animal behavior. And therein lies the heart of the story. This isn’t just a tall tale – it’s a science lesson. Timmy and Tori watch out-of-towner Cletus attempt to catch their catfish. They determine to uphold the pride of Sartaria. They learn to build a raft. They learn about fish behavior and they learn what it takes to become a legend. Victor Guiza’s colorful and whimsical illustrations help Eli live in the reader’s imagination by making Eli look friendly and clever at the same time. Young readers will enjoy this tall tale of the fish that always got away!