Jamaica Magazine

Ferdie the fisherman in Negril : Book Review


About the Book: Ferdie the Fisherman in Negril

In 1968 on a return trip to Jamaica, I visited Negril for the first time, and had the great pleasure of meeting Ferdie the fisherman, and sharing a little of his world.

Negril is located on the extreme southwestern tip of Jamaica and is surrounded by marshlands. Very few visitors went to Negril in those days, nevertheless, Negril was a very active fishing village.

Then, as now, a walk along that seven mile stretch of white sand beach, shaded by umbrellas of coconut trees, soon has you under its spell. Before long, you are splashing in the warm sea with its unbelievable shades of blues and greens. And after that, some refreshing coconut water and a dish of tasty fried or jerked fish and roasted breadfruit make your day.

This book is based on that simple relaxing way of life, which can still be seen today in Negril. Ferdie certainly had a wife and children, and a brother who lived in London, but the characters in this story are fictitious. Join in and share their experiences.

Negril has captured the heart of many visitors and is now Jamaica’s leading tourist destination.

Children will delight in this exciting tale of two ten-year-old English boys, one of Jamaican parentage, holidaying in Negril, Jamaica, with Ferdie the fisherman. Depicted with thirty vivid illustrations their time in Negril goes beyond their expectations with thrilling adventures and experiences such as:

                     - diving and clearing fishpots at the reef
                     - eating jerked food
                     - crab catching and fighting a crocodile
                     - catching a shark
                     - caught in a hurricane at sea and the
                     - rescue from a strange unknown island named ‘Frankinstone’.

About the Author: Dennis Ranston

Dennis Ranston, author and illustrator, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of twenty, he went to London to study art and was awarded a four-year scholarship by the London County Council to study at the Regent Street Polytechnic.

He gained the National Diploma in Design, majoring in book illustration, and pursued a post-graduate course in Graphic Design at the London College of Printing. He was commissioned while still in College, by Routledge & Kegan Paul Publishers, to illustrate two childrens books for the Caribbean.

In 1964, Dennis joined the Overseas Department of the Longmans Publishing Company in London as a book designer and illustrator, and was a part-time Graphic Design lecturer at the Croydon College of Art.

It was a Longman’s that Dennis met his future wife Jackie, and in 1970 they set sail for Jamaica, where they formed their own company, Twin Guinep Publishers. They published their first children’s book, The Kite and the Petchary, before specializing in Early Childhood Education, and Jamaica’s cultural heritage.

Dennis was also head of the Graphic Design Department at the Jamaica School of Art (now the Edna Manley College of Visual & Performing Arts) for many years.

Review Quotes

This book is a journey of childhood discovery and life lessons. The story is bursting with bright characters and Jamaican culture paired with vivid illustrations,Dennis Ranston’s words come to life! The characters are so well drawn you feel right there with them and the adventures Joe and Colin experience are sure to intrigue adults and children alike.

Imanni and I really enjoyed reading this book. I do believe at 5 years of age the story was a little advanced for him and may be best suited for children 7-12. I read a couple chapters a night instead of all the way through and that kept him with me. He laughed right along with the main characters at the fishermen’s nicknames. He loved the illustrations very much and looked on them worried when the boys were in trouble.

I think Dennis did a wonderful job of illustrating how life experiences teach children and help them to retain the lessons they learn. The glossary at the end could prove helpful to those not familiar with the Jamaican culture and it is a thoughtful addition.

Imanni and I would very much recommend this book – Jamaicans.com Forum Memeber, Bandanna

Webmaster Note: 
In January 2009 one of our longtime Board Members (Bandanna) travelled to Jamaica for a well deserved vacation. During this visit, she met with Dennis and his family and received a copy of his latest book, Ferdie the Fisherman in Negril. Please take time to visit the Book Forum and enjoy a first hand review courtesy of Bandanna and her son, Imanni.

Where to Buy: 
To place local and overseas orders for the book, contact:
Twin Guinep Publishers Limited
Unit # 21, 2 Seymour Avenue, Kingston 10, Jamaica
Phone & Fax:  (876) 944-4324 
e-mail: [email protected]www.twinguinep.com      www.ferdiethefisherman.com

About the author

Staff Writer