cover of book

The Fishermen, the Horse, and the Sea
by Barbara Joosse
illustrated by Renée Graef
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-0-87020-980-2 | Cloth: 978-0-87020-979-6
Library of Congress Classification PZ7.J7435Fi 2021

Young Lester Smith is part of a fishing family on Lake Michigan. He loves playing on the beach with his little sister, helping Mama with chores, and watching the neighbor’s big horse pull Papa’s fishing boat onto shore. But Lester understands that the lake can be “soft as a kitten one day and terrible as a sea monster the next.” On the autumn equinox of 1895, a wicked storm rolls into Port Washington, damaging a schooner on the lake and putting the lives of its two crewmen in danger. Will Lester, his family, and the horse save the day?

This beautifully illustrated children’s book based on a true story recounts a dramatic rescue on Lake Michigan and introduces young readers to Lester Smith and his family, who founded Port Washington’s long-running and beloved Smith Bros. Fish Shanty. Educational materials including definitions, an illustrated map of Lake Michigan, and short biographies of the story’s featured characters supplement this engaging story for elementary-age readers.

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