You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish

illus. by Marcus Pfister. 32p. North South. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780735842878.
PreS-Gr 1—Fans of Rainbow Fish will not be disappointed with Pfister's most recent installment of his classic children's book series. Rainbow Fish engages in a game of hide-and-seek with his friends and learns a difficult and humbling lesson: he is not the most adept player in the game. Not only is he unsuccessful at finding the other fish but he is also the first to be discovered when Little Blue becomes the seeker. Frustrated by Little Blue's victory, Rainbow Fish quits the game and angrily swims away. Red Fin, a newcomer to the shoal, immediately goes after him. In the end, Red Fin gently reminds Rainbow Fish that it's OK to lose. Pfister uses this very simple story line to address complex social and emotional development skills. At times, the writing is slightly predictable. However, the characters are multidimensional and relatable, often mirroring realistic childlike behaviors. The trademark illustrations of vibrant, sparkling scales provide great visuals and often compensate for the monotonous text.
VERDICT Teeming with rich lessons about the value of good sportsmanship, this straightforward tale is a useful resource for teaching the importance of good character. A serviceable addition to most picture book collections.

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