Book: The Cod's Tale

Cover image

The Cod's Tale

Author: Mark Kurlansky
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Age eight and up. The story of the cod and it’s importance for centuries. How a single fish could change the world.


Parents may have read or heard of Mark Kurlansky's runaway bestseller Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. It's an improbably fascinating story, and here, Kurlansky has teamed up with superb illustrator S.D. Schindler to tell it all over again, this time for kids. The life history of the cod — driven by its insatiable hunger — is interwoven with the insatiable hunger of people, from the Vikings onwards.

The illustrations are both informative (a cross-section of the Continental Shelf, a map of the Atlantic) and humorous (comical New Englanders dancing for joy at the invention of frozen fish fingers). Along the way, the reader accidentally learns a great deal about the Vikings, the Basques, the American Revolution, the slave trade — and the current danger, once thought impossible, that the cod will be fished to extinction.

Too chewy for children under about 5 or 6, this is an excellent bellyful of high-protein nonfiction for all children and even their parents. (Ages 6 to 12) —Richard Farr

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