Tropical Terry

Candlewick. May 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536205466.
PreS-Gr 1–Terry is a plain, small fish, which makes him an outlier in Coral Reef City. He lives with his friends Cilla the crab and Steve the snail, but he has ambitions of swimming with the school of fancy fish. He gathers up seaweed and colorful odds and ends, using them to become Tropical Terry, one of the most fabulous fish in all the ocean. However, when Eddie the Eel arrives looking for a snack, with the help of his friends, Terry learns that being small and plain has its advantages. Soon all the other tropical fish want to play his favorite game “hide-a-fish.” The illustrations use bright, saturated colors, in pencil and chalk with digital modifications. The deep, tonal blues of the ocean take up the full page, with texture and depth befitting of a coral reef. There is a visually interesting cast of characters and the layers of color add dynamic movement to the page. The richness of the illustrations lends itself to the climax of the story, when Terry must shake off his adornments to hide amid the coral and seaweed. 
VERDICT A humorous tale with vibrant illustrations for early elementary readers, on the virtues of being oneself

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