LOUIS THE FISH by Arthur Yorinks


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One day last spring, Louis, a butcher, turned into a fish. Silvery scales. Big lips. A tail. A salmon."" Louis' fate thus established at the outset, Yorinks goes back to trace his Flatbush Gregor Samsa's route to metamorphosis. Always accommodating, ""a wonderful guy,"" Louis is a butcher because his grandfather and his father were butchers. But, although his parents gave him salamis and turkey for his birthdays, Louis has never liked meat. Instead, he liked watching fish; and now, ""surrounded by steak,"" he spends his time drawing fish. Then the strain takes its toll. He begins to see fish everywhere and dreams of being attacked by butchered meat. (The fish, as pictured, are as ugly as the meat.) And so one morning, Louis wakes up a salmon, and he finds happiness at last in a pet store fish tank. Egielski gives this strange tale an appropriately, expressively surreal tone, with a sturdy Flatbush setting and some apt asides. (The puffy white clouds in the sky are cruising fish.) Adults will make what they will of Louis' transformation, be it escape, or the fatal consequence of his pliability, or--as Yorinks suggests, fulfillment. We're stumped for a coherent interpretation with meaning at the picture-book age level.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1980
ISBN: 0374445982
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux