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He's a Fish; He Has Fingers; He Has Fish Fingers
on 8 May 2015
This is a cheerful book with a clearly expressed but not heavy-handed message. (MILD SPOILER, BUT I'LL TRUST YOU NOT TO TELL ANY KIDS.) When Barry shows up with his swell fingers it steals the limelight from Puffy, the big-bubble-blowing fish, who gets all envious and mopey. Barry has fun showing off his fingers to the delight of the fishy crowd, and then an exciting event leads him to a reconciliation with the bubble-blower. The ending is a particularly clever resolution in which everyone is a winner.
The pictures are bright and appealing. Barry's fingers are stylized, not creepy. (I kept thinking about "fish fingers" on the school lunch menu. That's probably not the exact teachable moment the author was aiming for, but what do I know.) The story is light and zippy. Actually, for a picture book we get a lot of story - Barry's whole fingers thing, the way he connects with old bubble-blower, the way the story wraps up. That's a lot of action, but none of it seems inaccessible to a little reader. And there are a dozen mild positive lessons to be drawn from the tale.
The upshot? This feels like a fun, silly and pretty upbeat treat for reading time, and it's certainly a book an adult reading to youngsters could have fun with. A nice find.