Book review

Storlax by Robert Jackson and Bubbi Morthens (2005)

Now, what else is there to know about salmon, apart from fishcakes, do you suppose?

Have you heard about the Great Journey that salmon make, from their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic all the way up river, to the very pool where they were spawned? Its a formidable and heroic journey and not all of them make it. There are many casualties along the way. But this journey is not a matter of choice. They are driven to make it. How do they know when to begin?

'IT... IS... TIME... !'

The message welled up inside Storlax and then swelled and shuddered from his body, rippling his scales and shaking his gills with great force. A ribbon of lights stretched and moved far and wide across the night sky, shining soft beams of light-power over the snow-covered land and ice-capped seas of the North.

'IT... IS... TIME...!'

Well, Storlax should know. He is the King of the Hofsin and it is his duty to lead the great shoal as they set out on their Journey. Although for many of the young fish this is their first time, Storlax has made the Journey many times, and he bears the scars to prove it:

Salto looked in wonderment; he knew that many young Hofsin had never been this close to their leader. He saw three scars, each straight and deep, gouged into Storlax's flesh. He swam to Storlax's head and looked to the noble mouth where he saw a rusted hook imbedded in the corner of his mouth. A few strands of garish colour and a length of twine were still attached. Salto shivered. He could see another smaller hook with sharp pointed barbs imbedded in his leader's cheek. Storlax turned his head to show Salto the eye that had been blinded.

A worthy warrior and King. Salto will follow Storlax the King, along with his friend Una and the rest of his clan.

Dip into this book and swim with the Hofsin as they face up to hunting seals and seabirds, and the cunning of men. Leap with the Hofsin up the Great Falls that block their way upriver and through all the turmoil hold to the scent of the Home Pool:

Salto closed his eyes and breathed as he had seen Storlax do. At first nothing happened and then, slowly, he smelt something new. He saw in his mind the Home Pool and now he could actually smell it. It smelt of peace and safety. It was the Hofsin Home Scent. His body vibrated, sending out waves of ripples to the other Hofsin. He felt newly strong and happy.

Who said fish weren't lovable? I think you'll enjoy meeting Storlax and Salto.

What can I read next?

If you enjoy looking at the world through the eyes of animals have a look at this trilogy by Kenneth Oppel:

Or perhaps you should meet the indomitable Mrs Frisby, created by Robert C O'Brien:

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