illus. by Gianna Marino. 40p. Viking. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451469571.
K-Gr 2—When a young boy's pet goldfish dies, his mother secretly replaces it with a new one. The boy comes home to discover something amiss with his new fish. In an effort to comfort him, his mother secretly replaces the fish again. The boy is still not convinced that the new fish is his beloved Splotch. The mother and son travel to the pet store together and find the "missing" fish, but the boy reveals to readers that he thinks he's duped his mom, indicating that he probably knew the truth all along. The work is amusing, making light of a possibly upsetting scenario while simultaneously giving credit to the wit and cunning of children. This tale avoids the topic of loss and instead plays with the idea of pets, however small, having distinct personalities. The gouache and pencil illustrations are spot-on, giving all of the fish facial expressions and reinforcing the idea of individuality. The cat is a lovable, silent character, glancing knowingly throughout. The thoughts of the mom and boy are italicized, while dialogue is not, a small distinction that may be difficult for younger readers to grasp.
VERDICT While the words are few and the illustrations bold, suitable for younger readers, the content and the story might work better with a slightly older audience, especially in terms of humor. A fun choice that would make a good addition to most collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing