A Fish Story as Big as the Great Lakes Itself
Review by Victor R. Volkman
Parents and youth with a love for nature should check out A Great Lakes Odyssey with Louis and Louise by Stephen T. Schram (Orange Hat Publishing, 2018). Although this book is technically the second in a series (after Underwater Adventures with Louis and Louise), children can pick it up without missing any back-story. Schram had a long and prestigious career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, doing scientific research on the Great Lakes’ fish, and now he has turned his hand to children’s books with an equal precision and taste for fine details. Born and raised in Gladstone, and a graduate of NMU, he returns to the U.P. much like a migratory fish himself. The title characters, Louis and Louise, are lake trout nominally residing in the Apostle Islands (in western Lake Superior, near Ashland, Wisconsin), but who have a thirst for adventure and travel that will take them through Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, down the Detroit River to Lake Erie and finally through the perilous crossing to Lake Ontario. This chapter book contains beautiful color illustrations of underwater scenes by Kimberly VanDenBerg (also from Wisconsin) interspersed throughout the text. A Great Odyssey is suitable for use in a 3rd or 4th grade class where there is an ecological instruction unit because of its use of exact scientific language to talk about the habits of more than a dozen freshwater fish species, habitats and lifecycles. Recommended for children’s libraries.
Be sure to check out the third book in this series, Silent Satisfaction