The Old Mainer and the Sea by Jean Flahive

The illustrations in kid’s books these day are amazing. And the illustration on the cover of Jean Flahive’s book, The Old Mainer and the Sea, published by Islandport Press, grabbed my attention immediately. It shows an old guy in a small boat, hauling in a big fish.
Of course being an old Mainer myself, and a guy who loves the sea, I just knew I would love this book, and I did.

Author Jean Flavine has written two other award-winning children’s books, and I predict her new book will win awards too. She and her husband live on the Maine coast, and she blends historical realities into her works of fiction.

In this story, the old Mainer Eben rows six miles from his island home, catching lots of codfish enroute to Portland where he sells the fish before paddling home. On this trip, he gets hit by a big ship, nearly capsizing, and then gets lost in the fog.

But don’t worry, a porpoise that he’d caught and released earlier on that trip returned to lead Eben to the shore and safety. Every kid will love this story.

I spent quite a bit of time on each page, enjoying the marvelous illustrations of Mari Dieumegard, who was born and raised in Alaska (lucky her!) and now lives on a Maine lake with her husband and two kids (lucky again!).

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.