Review by New York Times Review
OH, the tantrum my preschool daughter threw on learning that she couldn't hold her new goldfish. "Then I want you to cook him!" she shrieked. That's the problem with goldfish. Parents buy them as starter pets, and small children, who think a pet is something you dress in doll clothes, are disappointed when they realize that Finny's main activity is being looked at. But the star of "My Goldfish," by Barroux, leads a fabulous life. "My goldfish is the strongest goldfish in the world," the book begins, and on the facing page we see a red fish balancing his bowl on his nose. "When someone bullies him, my goldfish can defend himself on his own. He is afraid of nothing" - and the fish reveals two rows of sharky teeth. On he goes to demonstrate his beautiful voice, his scary Halloween costume and his excursions to the lap pool. ("When he comes back, his eyes are all red.") At last, "when he's really too old," the goldfish goes off to "swim with the great white fish." (Why white? Maybe it's an oblique reference to the toilet bowl, where so many goldfish meet their maker.) Real-life goldfish are more interesting than you may think. They can be trained to ring a bell when they're hungry, for instance. No doubt, if asked, they would prefer actual stimulation to having their owners imagine a brilliant existence for them. Still, this book's offbeat settings and strong, simple illustrations, in acrylic paint with pencil and rough-hewn linocut outlines, should help preschoolers - and parents - realize that when you bring some creativity to pet ownership, even a fish can be fun. Ann Hodgman's most recent book is "The House of a Million Pets."
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [October 27, 2009]
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The brash claims of a young narrator appear beside portraits of his amazing goldfish in a kind of literary vaudeville act. Each picture is a subtle variation on the basic fish-in-the-bowl image, and the humor lies in the changes. "My goldfish is the strongest goldfish in the world," the narrator declares, while the picture shows the puny goldfish poised on the table, holding the fishbowl up with its nose. The fish is not painted in detail, but rather a fish-shaped outline within an area of red paint, which gives it a solemn, almost hieroglyphic appearance. The goldfish dresses up as a skeleton for Halloween, goes on vacation and comes back sunburned and, once, forgets where he lives (the picture shows him in a drinking glass). The narrator's love for the goldfish is laced with humor yet poignant ("I've told him a hundred times not to speak to strangers, but my goldfish never listens"). Barroux's (Where's Mary's Hat?) story comes across as a meditation on a life well lived, and the laughs are just as good the second time around. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1-3-An unseen narrator tells all about a pet goldfish. The descriptions range from sweet to silly, original to over-the-top. This special fish is strong, but hates fighting, has a beautiful singing voice, and sometimes forgets where he lives. The stylized acrylic paintings are bright and slightly abstract. The red fish stands out in his blue bowl. The deadpan text would work best as a read-aloud since most of the jokes are visual and some are a tad sophisticated. Kids with a special bond with a pet will enjoy this imaginative and often-humorous homage.-Laura Stanfield, Campbell County Public Library, Ft. Thomas, KY Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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Review by Horn Book Review
My goldfish is the strongest goldfish in the world." An offstage narrator describes his/her pet's qualities. Each statement is illustrated with a sight gag in the simply composed paintings ("[My fish] often forgets where he lives" shows the pet swimming in a glass of water). The book may disappoint readers expecting a story but should delight those impressed by sophisticated visual comedy. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.