Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike

illus. by Mike Austin. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2017.Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481445238.
PreS-Gr 2—Rylant has always had a fondness for animals (and the Beatles!), and here she has created a sweet story about the five "fab" fish that live in a girl's large sparkling aquarium. For the fish, every day is "heaven." They love the diver, the bubbles, and the pirate ship that decorate their tank. Bad days only occur when the little girl cleans the tank; however, after one cleaning day, they get three special surprises—two new fish (a clownfish and an angelfish) and a fairy castle. However, one of the fish immediately gets trapped in the castle, and it is up to an overlooked snail that also lives in the tank to save the day. Children will enjoy the rhyming names of the fish, the repetition (plop, plop), the multitude of exclamation marks, and the use of oversize words at critical points in the story. Austin's bright and colorful cartoons complement the bouncy text well. The original fish have expressive eyes, front fins that almost look like hands, and bright pink lips. The face of the snail, when he realizes that he can be the hero, is a wonderful blend of charming, goofy, and gross. Finally, Austin sets off scenes that take place in the tank with swirls of blue paint and bubblelike circles on the edges while using a plain white background for scenes outside of the tank.
VERDICT A cheerful, engaging story, perfect for reading aloud to younger children.

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