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Higgins Bend Song and DanceHiggins Bend Song and Dance
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Brad Sneed
Houghton Mifflin, 1997. ISBN-10: 0395675839.



Higgins Bend Song and Dance is the tall-tale of a poor fisherman named Simon Henry who lives on the river by Higgins Bend and swears he can catch anything that "swims, crawls, or floats." His friend Potato Kelly, who owns the bait and chowder shop near Higgins Bend bets Simon Henry that he cannot catch the wily catfish, Oscar. When Oscar steals Simon Henry's doughballs, his fat redworms and his best five day old secret recipe stinkbait the contest is on and Simon Henry vows "to get up early, work late, and sleep in my boots" until that fish is caught. If you like fishing, like rivers, or just like to laugh, you will like this story.

Curriculum:

  • Making Fish -- fish
      You may not live near a river but you can make chowder and you can surround yourself with fish.
        First, the fish--
        • Fish come in all shapes--round, long, tear-dropped shaped, ovals. Some fish are brightly colored. Some are drab. If you want your fish to look like real fish, find some pictures in an encyclopedia or other book and study them. Try to make your fish look like them. Or you can make up imaginary fish.
          • Find two pieces of paper that are just the same size.
          • Draw your fish on one piece of paper.
          • Cut the fish out.
          • Use the cut out fish as a pattern to draw the same shape on the second piece of paper.
          • Have an adult help you staple the two pieces of paper together at the tail section.
          • Now color your fish, as fancy as you want.
        • Crumple small pieces of newspaper and put them in the stapled tail section to fill out your fish.
        • With the help of an adult staple the body section and add more crumpled newspaper.
        • Continue stapling and filling, finishing with the head section.
        • Put thread through your fish to hang it somewhere in your home.

        Making Corn Chowder --
        • Wash four potatoes carefully. (If you get them very clean you will not need to peel.)
        • Cut the potatoes into small pieces.
        • Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter or margerine in a pot.
        • Add the potatoes and one large onion that someone has peeled and chopped. (If you don't like onion, add 2 T. of dried, minced onion. You won't notice it but it will add flavor.)
        • Cook for a couple of minutes at medium heat.
        Add one cup of water and cook for 10 minutes until potatoes are soft. Then:
        • Add three cups of corn (drained canned corn or frozen corn).
        • Cook for five more minutes.
        • Add three cups of milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste.
        Let chowder sit on the stove while you and a friend read a stack of good books. The flavor improves if it sits for a couple of hours before eating.

        You might be interested in these stories about fish --
        • McKissack, Patricia. A Million Fish More or Less Illustrated by Dena Schutzer. Dragonfly, 1996 pb.
        • Roth, Roger. Fishing for Methuselah. HarperCollins, 1998.
        • Creech, Sharon. Fishing in the Air. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. HarperCollins 2000.
        • Wells, Rosemary. The Fisherman and His Wife. Illustrated by Eleanor Hubbard. Dial, 1998.
        • Franklin, Kristine. The Gift. Illustrated by Barbara Lavalee. Chronicle, 1999.
        • Waldron, Kathleen Cook. Loon Lake Fishing Derby. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths. Orca, 1999.
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