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The Big Snapper

by Katherine Holubitsky

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multigenerational, camping & outdoor activities
list price: $7.95
also available: eBook
published: 2006
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 12
4 to 7
Reading age:
9 to 12
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Big Snapper

In Haida Gwaii, ten-year old Eddie spends summer days fishing with his granddad, who entertains Eddie with tall tales about a giant snapper. Eddie believes that by catching the giant snapper, his family’s fortunes will change. His family is poor. His father left for the city and has not called home for months. When his granddad falls ill and must be hospitalized in the city, Eddie feels twice abandoned. To make ends meet, Eddie’s family opens a B & B. Children from the city complain that there is “nothing to do” on the island. True, there are no shopping malls, movie theatres, McDonald’s or computers. But Eddie begins to realize the riches he has in community, family, fishing and nature. Eddie’s father comes to the same realization and returns home. Together they catch the big snapper, only to release it.

Katherine Holubitsky also wrote The Mountain That Walked, Alone at Ninety Foot and The Hippie House.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2007-2008.

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  • Short-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow nominee
  • Short-listed, R. Ross Annett Award nominee
  • Short-listed, Silver Birch nominee
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
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Ten-year-old Eddie lives with his mom and grandparents in a small cabin on the Queen Charlotte Islands. A year earlier, Eddie's dad took the ferry to the mainland and never returned. Eddie loves going fishing with Granddad and listening to his tall tales about the big snapper. Eddie believes if they catch such a fish, it might change his family's fortune.
Mom decides to turn their cabin into a bed and breakfast. Some of the guests appreciate island life, but many do not. When Granddad falls ill and must go away for treatment, Eddie worries that he too may not come back. Already hurt and confused by his father's disappearance, upset by the attitudes of the tourists, and now missing his beloved grandfather, Eddie goes fishing alone in Granddad's skiff. Soon he is struggling with more than the need to stay afloat.

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Eddie is adjusting to his own hat when he gets a hit. A bit of a tug and a moment of slack, and then the fish strikes again. In a matter of seconds the line is taut. Eddie allows a little more line to peel off. He doesn't pull too hard, or too fast—in fact, the fish quickly uses up the extra line he gives it, and it's all he can do to hold on to it. "Granddad, you'd better wake up."

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Editorial Reviews

"Sincere, thoughtful and sensitive as well as being a very easy and entertaining read. Kids will love the story."

— CD Syndicated

"Holubitsky's prose evokes the beauty of Haida Gwaii...Excellent."

— Resource Links

***/4 "Storytelling bonds and heals the family. Recommended."

— CM Magazine
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About the Author

Katherine Holubitsky

Katherine Holubitsky's first novel, Alone at Ninety Foot, (Orca Book Publishers), won the CLA Book of the Year for Young Adults and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. She has also written Last Summer in Agatha, The Hippie House and The Mountain that Walked, all published by Orca. Katherine lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

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