Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...Fish

Ugly Fish, by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Scott Magoon was published in 2006 by Harcourt, and has been one of my all time favorite story time books since.  It is a sure thing, no matter how old or how rambunctious your audience.  Play with the voices, build the suspense, and everyone is edge of their criss-cross-applesauce-d bottoms.

This year Sleeping Bear Press published Memoirs of a Goldfish, by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers.  Is there room for two books about fish in a bowl (to kind of coin a phrase from Ugly Fish)?

LaReau's story is delightfully dark and twisted.  Scillian's has a happy ending.  LaReau's little protagonist is a true villain.  Scillian's is a little hero.  Magoon's illustrations are stark and weird and silly.  Bowers' illustrations are whimsical and rich with detail.  The two books may be about fish in a bowl who learn a little something about friendship, but they are wonderfully different.  You may  prefer one over the other, but why not use them together in a story time and let your young audience choose which fish they're rooting for.

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