Poor Little Guy

illus. by Elanna Allen. 40p. further reading. Dial. Jun. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525428251.
K-Gr 2—There is always a larger fish in the sea. And sometimes that larger fish can be a little…insensitive. A small yellow fish, sporting stylish spectacles, is swimming through the ocean, minding his own business, when he is grabbed by a much larger octopus. The fish swims a little faster, hoping he can escape, but the octopus reaches out one sinuous tentacle and drags him back to "play." The octopus's play is rough and inconsiderate—he flings the little yellow fish from tentacle to tentacle, shouting, "Catch of the Day!," among other tricks that the octopus finds hilarious and the little yellow fish finds terrifying. The octopus gets wilder and wilder until he finally decides he might swallow the fish. When he tries to do so, he gets a big surprise. That little yellow fish is a puffer and leaves the octopus with spines in his mouth. This book has very few words, so the illustrations take center stage. Allen uses a variety of perspectives to convey feelings, both those of the little fish and the boisterous octopus. Readers will feel a wide range of emotions—fear, annoyance, frustration, and, finally, vindication. There is a gorgeous palette here, too, atmospheric and full of motion.
VERDICT The large, clear images will show up well in a storytime, and the surprise ending will have readers going back again and again to see the octopus's reaction. The term poor little guy is relative.

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