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Book series inspired by Minnesota lakes, grandchildren


    Inspired by his grandchildren and love of fishing, White Bear Lake resident Geoff Ratte created FishingKids – a children’s book series and product line that bridges appreciation for the great outdoors with transgenerational key values, including stewardship, sportsmanship and friendship. “We’re finding that grandparents in particular are experiencing great success with FishingKids, and we have received many letters of gratitude and uplifting stories. The books have become a way to connect with their grandchildren, either through reading the stories together, or serving as a thoughtful gift,” said Ratte. “This series encourages children to spend less time plugged into devices or in front of screens and more time reading and developing relationships.” The series consists of three stories featuring the adventures of two 10-year-old Minnesotans, Steve Pinner (Spinner) and Bobby Ernest (Bobber), and the friends they make along the way. The first book in the series, The Monster of White Bear Lake is based in Minnesota, while the following books, The Mystery of Porpoise Point, and The Pirate of Creole Bay take place in Florida and Louisiana, respectively. “I wanted to spend time with my grandchildren while sharing meaningful aspects of my own upbringing, which was part of the inspiration for FishingKids,” Ratte said. “The stories are fun and informational and are paired with toys, gear and clothing that allow children to identify themselves as FishingKids ambassadors even after they’ve finished reading the books.” Ratte’s upbringing was in Minnesota. “I was born in Mahtomedi 60 years ago,” he said. “I lived here until I went away to college.” After college, Ratte worked for his family business, Water Gremlin, a business that sold fishing sinkers in White Bear Lake. In 1980, work took Ratte to New Orleans, where he and his wife, Jean, raised three kids. “In 2002, after the kids all flew the coop, Jean and decided to move back to White Bear Lake for a late-life adventure,” he said. When the Rattes got their first grandson (Charlie) two years ago, they thought about how Charlie’s childhood would be different than their childhood. “Jean and I decided to create FishingKids to give today’s kids a taste of that nostalgic time. If there were school shootings, crack houses, gang violence and bullying then, I never heard about it. I think kids would be happier in a simpler world with lots of outdoor fun, lots of family and friends, and a good clean outdoor lifestyle.” In the boys, there is special emphasis given to the family, especially the boys’ relationship with the Chief, Spinner’s grandfather. “He is the one to pass along all the lore and knowledge,” said Ratte. “The tribal elder, if you will.” The books are less than 100 pages each and can be purchased through the FishingKids website or by mail-in-order form. For the fishing enthusiast, FishingKids also offers Spinner and Bobber action figures, an accessory pack that includes a miniature fishing rod, tackle box, minnow bucket, lantern and detachable fish, youth apparel, gear and more. Visit fishingkids.com for more information.

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