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Fishboy is a children’s adventure story based in Cornwall. It is in the Swallows and Amazons genre with innocent adventure and no violence. It focuses on two cousins, Bruno and Hamish, aged 10 and 12, and Bruno’s little sister Paisley, who become involved with Finn, a boy from Marino. Marino is a magical Cornish slate house built underwater below the local windfarm just off the north Cornish coast. It is the home to a large family of “Gillanders”, stretching back many generations.

The Gillanders are born with one lung on one side of their body and gills on the other that enables them to breath underwater. Finn takes the boys to his home via the dolphin water taxis, Botolph and Osquirt to meet some of Finn’s family and marine friends including Bono the Shark and Consomme, the Turtle who sleeps on the bottom of Finns water room on top of his seaweed blanket. The Gillanders get their energy from the local windfarm just above them, but there is gossip of a new larger one being built much further out to sea which would mean closing this one down. Whilst the Gillanders could move their home, it would mean enormous disruption and they would prefer to find a way to stop these proposals going through. Bruno and Hamish with the help of Paisley, their Auntie Moo’s sailing dinghy Wishful, and Catapus the blue whale, join forces with the Gillanders to help solve the problem. The book is fictitious, but a lot of the story could be true and part of it is educational. For instance, the book touches on how the tides work, a little bit of sailing lore and Darwin’s theory.


Extract from the book: Finn is talking to Bruno and Hamish

“I come from an unusual race of people who have the ability to breath underwater. We are called Gillanders. I won’t tell you the background now but obviously this means we are quite different to you. We have learnt to keep ourselves to ourselves although we mix with ‘Leylanders.’ which is our name for normal people. We are very independent. We have made ourselves a place to live, more an underwater village really, with all the usual things that you have but just different. The reason I wanted to talk to you is that our home could soon be ruined, and we don’t feel we can do anything about it without Leylanders’ help.”


Extract from the book: Bruno and Hamish eat lunch with the Marinos and Gillanders

“A door from the other end of the room opened and 3 men trooped in carrying large steel bowls with lids on. These were set down on the tables and the men lifted the lids before joining the diners. The Marinos politely waited in turn to put their hands into the bowl and bring out a handful of eels and snails, which they put on their plate. Only this meal was not staying on the plate. Bruno and Hamish watched in astonishment as the eels slithered around on the plate and the snails tried to find a route over the slimy mass. Hamish tried to stifle a giggle and ended up having to put his fist in his mouth. The Marinos ate in silence, picking from the outside of the plate so that the ones just about to fall off were eaten first. They didn’t seem to mind that the eels continued to wriggle in their mouths and sometimes one would be hanging out of a mouth whilst the mouth’s owner would be chewing the other end inside. The snail was a bit more work. As if breaking the shell of an egg, the snails were gently knocked against the edge of the table and any bits left on the snail flesh were picked off before the whole thing would be eaten in one gulp.”

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