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SOPHIE'S FISH by A.E. Cannon Kirkus Star


by A.E. Cannon & illustrated by Lee White

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 15th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-670-01291-6
Publisher: Viking

Transfixing artwork shows a boy’s imagination running wild on the potential ramifications of pet sitting.

When schoolmate Sophie asks Jake to care for her fish, Yo-Yo, for a weekend, he agrees, because “[h]ow hard can it be to babysit a fish?” But while waiting for Yo-Yo to arrive, Jake begins to worry. “What kind of snacks do fish like to eat?” he frets. White presents a massive Strawberry Worm Cake as a possible fish snack; standing atop the highest layer, Jake offers a slice to a laughing blue fish he finds sitting upright on a wire chair. The fish is as big as Jake. Next, Jake wonders, “[w]hat if Yo-Yo wants to play a game?” Here, the portrayed fish is several times Jake’s size, dressed as a pirate and riding an enormous rubber ducky. Watercolor dominates the mixed media, inventively complemented by collage and drawing. Lines dance playfully around the shapes they’re meant to outline, sometimes sliding off a shape’s edge, sometimes bleeding into the watercolor. Tidbits of collage, sometimes of patterned paper, are fascinating yet never loud. Jake’s shorts are watercolor, but his shirt is collaged plaid; the tissues the fish weeps into look like tiny cut-out photos; flower petals are delicate newsprint. Jake calms his fears just in time—well, just in time for the shocking Yo-Yo to arrive.

Visually offbeat and beautiful. (Picture book. 3-6)