Tag: fish

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

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The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

This Australian import is the first in a fresh new illustrated chapter book series. Wolf has decided that he’s tired of being a bad guy so he recruits three fellow baddies to his new gang where they do good deeds. But it’s not so easy for Shark, Piranha and Snake to give up their own ways, like eating meat and people. Their first mission for good is to rescue a kitten stuck in a tree, but what kitten wants to climb down if they see those big teeth smiling at them? Their next job is to rescue 200 dogs from the dog pound. It involves Shark dressing up as a little girl, Wolf making a great shot, and Piranha and Snake showing the dogs the way out. But the plan doesn’t quite work out they way they want it too either.

This book has the pep and feel of a comic book, filled with large fonts that add attitude to the pages and lots of illustrations. In fact, because of its many illustrations it will be a welcome early book for new chapter book readers who will love the humor as well as the pictures that nicely break up the text. There is a great zany energy to the entire book with one joke leading nicely to the next. The pacing is cleverly done with just enough time to catch your breath from laughing before the action starts again.

Blabey’s illustrations are a large part of that manic charm. They are hugely funny. Emotions are shown broadly and wildly on characters’ faces. The shark barely fits into the car and not without a bump out for the dome of his head. There are incidents of eating one another and being bashed against walls. Each one is hilarious and children will love the slapstick comedy of it all.

A funny delight, this illustrated chapter book will have young readers begging for the next in the series. I know I can’t wait! Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.

One Lonely Fish by Andy Mansfield

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One Lonely Fish by Andy Mansfield and Thomas Flintham

Released January 31, 2017.

One little lonely yellow fish swims in the ocean. But soon he is joined with one fish and then others, each following with their mouth wide open to eat the fish in front of them. Counting one to ten, the fish grow bigger and bigger. Eventually though, there is just one lonely fish on the page once again.

This simple board book has a great sense of humor. There is very little text to the book other than counting upwards, making it simple enough for very small children. The board construction is sturdy enough to make this work with toddlers. But be ready for the little ones to be very surprised and perhaps sad with the twist at the end. Still, the likelihood is giggles, not tears.

The illustrations are bright and colorful. There are two little red crabs on the bottom of all of the pages with the bright yellow sand who warn observant readers of the final twist a page ahead of time. The fish are a rainbow of colors and have a variety of patterns as well.

Energetic and colorful, you are sure to be hooked by this fishy picture book. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Bloomsbury.

 

 

Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske (InfoSoup)

Hanging off of the bottom of a dock is not the most exciting life. Barnacle has times of day when he is cold and wet and other times when he is dry and hot. The tide comes in and out, the waves roll in, the sun goes up and goes down. Barnacle is particularly jealous of the merry life of a polka-dotted little fish nearby. He knows that the fish has to have a lot more fun than Barnacle does. He must go diving with dolphins and frolic with other fish. Just as Barnacle is completing his fantasies about how much better the little fish’s life is than his own, an eel comes along. Gulp!

Put this down as another rather dark picture book that I adore. I must admit to having a type and this one is particularly pleasing with Barnacle being entirely jealous of what another fish has that he does not. It’s an emotion that children will relate to readily. The text is very brief and fast-moving. Barnacle’s voice is a pleasure to read aloud, from his slow tones of boredom through to the joys of being a fish and all the way to the end when he realizes what he actually has going for him.

The illustrations are very appealing and have the feel of a cartoon. Done in flat colors, they play up the facial expressions of Barnacle and the other fish to good effect. The looks of boredom are particularly clear and take it so far that it’s humorous. The page turns are nicely done as well, adding to the theater of the book.

Perfect for the boredom of summer days, this seaside book will surely refresh or at any rate give everyone a good jump at the end. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert (InfoSoup)

Rain fish only appear when it rains, coming out of the debris in the gutters. Formed of lost receipts, bottle caps, feathers, socks, leaves and more. They swim down the streets, along the gutters and on the sidewalks. You have to look fast, because they disappear quickly. These are fish who swim off to different seas, unable to be caught by fishermen.

This picture book encourages children to look at debris and discarded items in a different way, seeing forms in them and wonder as well. The book’s text is simple, single lines of text on double page spreads which create rain fish that are larger than life. The end pages feature the various objects not made into fish with the objects labeled at the end of the book. This is a gorgeous book, playful and filled with artistic fun.

As always, the illustrations in Ehlert’s books are the treat. Here she captures the fluidity of fish, their forms and fins with a series of objects. The youngest of children may want to name the objects the fish are made of, making this art very accessible and an opportunity to talk about the illustrations. It is also a great introduction to collages and classes or groups could do their own fish or other animals.

Another solid and striking book from a masterful book maker, this picture book is another winner for Ehlert. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

 

Review: Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

Pool by JiHyeon Lee (InfoSoup)

A boy stands at the end of a swimming pool, ready to hop in. But just as he is about to, a crowd of people arrive and take over the pool. It is crammed full of them with their floating tubes and boats, leaving no area of water open. But the boy finds a sliver of water along the side of the pool and dives down underneath the crowd. A girl sees him dive down and heads down herself. The two meet underwater and head deeper together. Down at the bottom of the pool they discover a coral reef filled with wild fish that swim in large schools. There are also tubes large enough for a kid or a colorful eel to hide in. Large toothy fish swim by and then a gargantuan white whale too. The children head up to the surface again, as the rest of the crowd head out of the pool. The two of them are left to dry off side by side and wonder at what else could be underneath that water.

Lee captures the beauty of swimming and the wonder of imagination in this wordless picture book. The two children are distinct from the others floating on the surface, built in a more delicate way and almost matching except for their swimsuits. As they dream of reefs and fish, the water fills with animals. There is a playfulness to their imaginations, creating a world together that is filled with amazing things.

Delicate illustrations are filled with the blue of the pool. As the coral reef appears, there are animals of all sorts, even water spiders. The wonder of the huge white whale is a moment that is lengthened and filled with importance in this picture book. Throughout the pacing is masterfully done, allowing readers time to explore and dream themselves.

A book that encourages long looks and your own fish designs, this picture book is an inspiring and refreshing watery read. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Review: Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones

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Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alexandra Boiger

Mrs. Doreen Randolph-Potts is a very rare Ample Roundy Fish who is headed to visit her cousin who has just had a baby, or 157 babies to be exact.  So Doreen is swimming down the river when she spots what she thinks is a tasty dragonfly, but it is not.  It is actually a lure held by a fisherman, but Doreen does not know that and she gulps it down.  Soon Doreen is lifted into the air and plunked into a basket.  She thinks she is just there for a little rest before she heads on her journey, but she is wrong again.  Instead a Great Heron snaps her up and carries her off.  But as he has her in his jaws, Doreen thanks him for the ride.  She then manages to insult him by asking if he is an egret and when he tries to answer her she falls down, down into the water again.  So that leaves two very embarrassed creatures:  a fisherman and a heron who both lost their catch that day and one rather confused but safe Doreen who makes it to her cousin’s home with a great story to share.

Doreen is a great character, always looking on the bright side of her world though in a rather confused way.  She’s an optimist through and through, one who always sees the best, though sometimes at her own peril.  The book is designed to be read aloud with the fonts leading readers along the way.  It has great pacing for sharing aloud as well as a good amount of humor which always helps.  The language of the writing is also very special.  Here is my favorite line of the book to give you some of the flavor: 

By the water’s edge

a Fisherman wearing a coat the color of the sun

and a Great Blue Heron wearing a coat the color of a stormy sky

with a neck like an S

for SPEAR

are fishing.

Wonderful writing with richness and depth, contrasts and foreshadowing.  It’s simply superb.

Boiger’s art is appropriately done in watercolor for this fishy story.  Doreen pops on the page with her bright scarf and umbrella, both in red.  The action is captured nicely on the page, filled with bubbles, swirls and motion. 

A clever and optimistic book, children are sure to root for Doreen on her great adventure.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

Review: Jim Curious by Matthias Picard

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Jim Curious: A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea by Matthias Picard

In black and white images, a boy walks out his house.  With a klang, he emerges and takes steps with a loud bong since he’s wearing a diving suit.  Turn the page, put on your 3D glasses, and once the boy enters the water the magic starts to happen.  Jim is now exploring.  He passes a sunken car and a long pipeline, but soon reaches the open ocean.  As the pages turn, the 3D effects are gasp-worthy and so well done.  Readers and Jim together are on an amazing journey at sea.

A nearly wordless book, this is true immersion.   I’m not usually a fan of books with gimmicks but the 3D is put to such incredible use on the page here that I found myself immediately drawn in.  It is so effective that you will find yourself reaching out to touch parts of the image that seem closest and then feel shocked when you touch a flat page.  It happened to me time and again. 

While this may not be ideal to circulate at libraries since the glasses will quickly be lost, this is a great gift book that is definitely worth exploring.  Appropriate for ages 4-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams Books for Young Readers.