Book Review: Fish Finelli (Book 1): Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles

I am ALWAYS on the hunt for fiction that I think Matt will enjoy, even if it is a tad below his reading level. Finding good fiction for boys that breaks away from sad and "dark" themes (as Matt calls them) can prove rather difficult. I managed to get a copy of Fish Finelli (Book 1): Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and I was glad I did.

About the Book

When bully Bryce Billings bets Fish Finelli that he can’t find Captain Kidd’s legendary long-lost treasure, Fish and his friends embark on a quest to find real-life pirate treasure. Between sneaking into the library to track down Captain Kidd’s map, stowing away on a boat, and trespassing on an island, Fish and his friends have their work cut out for them. But will Fish actually be able to find Captain Kidd’s booty and win the bet? Appropriate for both boys and girls, this first book in the Fish Finelli series will inspire readers to use their imaginations, learn about the world around them, and appreciate the bonds of friendship.
— Amazon
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Fish Finelli (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452128537



What Did I Think

As I said, it is hard to find a good book for Matt that doesn't make him upset. To him, too many books "go to the dark side," meaning they tackle tough themes and make him sad or angry.  Fish Finelli however, is funny and  full of adventure. I give it a full 5 STARS!

It also appeals to his love of science with lots of little tidbits tossed into the sidebars to peak his interest and set him off researching new topics. The first sidebar is about the walkie-talkie and tells the reader how it was developed in Word War II. Just sort of info that hooks in a history buff like Matt and makes them want to read more. Besides, it feels like I'm beating my head into a brick wall when I try to get Matt or Ema to read fiction.  They gobble up non-fiction like a bag of candy though, so the sidebar information actually lures him in.

From a mom point of view, the book is a great choice to build a  mini lit unit off of, providing plenty of topics to study as well as great use of onomatopoeia and rich vocabulary for suggested age group. I love the fact that I can hand him a book that I know he will enjoy but will take something away from as well.

About the Author

"E. S. Farber is the mother of a boy who likes facts along with his fiction, which inspired her to write Fish Finelli. She has authored numerous books for children. She lives in Amagansett, New York."

You can also purchase the second book in the series Fish Finelli: Operation Fireball - "When Bryce Billings says he will clobber Fish Finelli in the Captain Kidd Classic boat race, Fish has no choice but to accept the bet."


Are your kids fiction or non-fiction fans Do you think they would enjoy a fiction title with some non-fiction peppered in?