Monday, September 22, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] Mike Fink by Steven Kellogg


Title:  Mike Fink

Author:  Steven Kellogg

Genre: Tall Tale / Competition /Adventure

Year Published: 1992

Year Read: 2014

Publisher: Morrow Junior Books

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Fighting Scenes)
I have read many tall tale stories from the legendary Steven Kellogg, but this is honestly the first time that I had checked out Steven Kellogg’s work on an unknown tall tale hero, “Mike Fink!”  I must say that this is definitely one tall tale story that you should check out!


Mike Fink was always born for adventure, especially during an incident when he was two days old and he ran away from home to join up with a group of acrobatic frogs!  When Mike got older, he started wrestling with other boys twice his size and he always came out on top!  One day, however when Mike was planning on becoming a Keel Boatman, he meets up with Jack Carpenter, the King of the keel boatmen and he wanted to wrestle with him.  But, Jack proved to be much stronger than Mike and he ends up throwing Mike into the Rocky Mountains, where Mike ends up meeting a group of bears that are constantly shown wrestling each other.  After Mike spends some time practicing wrestling with these bears, he goes back to Jack Carpenter and…

Does Mike end up winning his fight with Jack Carpenter and what other adventures will Mike Fink go on next?

Read this book to find out!

*Now, judging by that summary, you might think that the whole point of this book was Mike’s fight with Jack Carpenter, but oh no.  That is not the end of Mike’s adventures!  Just for the sake of not spoiling too much in this book, I just cut the summary off at Mike’s meeting with Jack Carpenter!*

Wow! I have read many tall tales during my time, but I had never read a tall tale story that stars Mike Fink before.  I have heard of Mike Fink in other tall tales stories like “Davy Crockett” and “Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett,” but I have never read any stories that featured him as a solo character.  Now, I finally got that chance with Steven Kellogg’s rendition of this larger than life tall tale hero!  I honestly enjoyed this retelling of this unknown tall tale hero as before, I did not know much about Mike Fink until I read this book and now that I read this book, I am definitely looking forward to reading more stories about Mike Fink!  I loved the way that Steven Kellogg brings humor and adventure to this tall tale as Mike Fink is constantly being shown taking down opponents that are much larger than him and yet, he is always determined to become the strongest Keel Boatman no matter what kind of odds are stacked against him.  I also loved the exaggerated and hilarious adventures that Mike Fink has throughout his life such as playing around with acrobatic frogs and wrestling with grizzly bears as they bring so much creativity to this story!  Steven Kellogg’s artwork was also beautiful and impressive to look at, especially during the scenes where Mike is doing various stunts that would make you scratch your head in confusion and yet be awed by the awesomeness of those stunts!  I especially loved the artwork of the landscapes in the Rocky Mountains as they look realistic and beautiful and they give the story a sense of beauty while also providing an adventurous tone.

The only thing about this book that sort of rubbed me the wrong way was how the book ended.  I mean, it is sort of a clean cut ending as in the story is wrapped up nicely, but at the same time I expected to see more from the final fight that Mike engages in. I would have loved to see more illustrations that detailed the final fight rather than just leaving it up to the audience’s imagination about what happened after that fight (by the way, I am not telling you what the final fight was all about so that way, I would not spoil too much about this book)! 

Overall, “Mike Fink” is a fantastic story that really details the adventures of one of the lesser known tall tale heroes in a humorous and adventurous way.  Anyone who wants to check out the fun adventures of Mike Fink or find a good book that is all about Mike Fink, you should definitely give this book a whirl!




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