FICTION

The Only Fish in the Sea

illus. by Matthew Cordell. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722828.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—With comic urgency, a boy races on his bicycle to tell his friend Sadie the story of spoiled Little Amy Scott, who declared that her birthday goldfish was BORING and walked across town to unceremoniously throw it off the dock. The boy, Sherman, asks Sadie if she could imagine that poor fish, still in its bag and floating away, bringing the prologue to an end and spurring Sadie into action. She names the fish Ellsworth, plots a course, and gathers fishing gear, weather-appropriate clothes, a bucket of paint, and 21 pink balloons. A half-dozen monkeys join the kids on their journey as crewmen, adding to the zaniness established by the loose pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations. Readers will admire Sadie's unflappable, no-nonsense response to the dangers at sea, though this is just one of the many gloriously funny details.
VERDICT A contemporary tall tale fueled by the characters' genuine caring and heart. Best read one-on-one to feast on the clever cartoon artwork.

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