A little girl tries to construct an aquarium for her new fish in this wordless Portuguese import by an Argentine artist.
Following a path from her house to a riverside dock, the girl stares intently into the water and imagines swimming amid fish of varying shapes, sizes, and colors. When a sprightly red fish leaps onto the dock, she captures it and carries it home, where she attempts to assemble an aquarium. Surrounded by assorted containers, hoses, and puddles, the girl dons her bathing suit, hoping to replicate the experience of swimming with her fish. When her fish flips out of the inflatable pool into a puddle, the girl realizes her venture isn’t working. Reluctantly, she returns the wee red fish to the river. In this wordless story, illustrations convey setting, character, plot, and emotion through flat patterns, simple lines, and a contained palette of pinks, blues, and golds, rendered in pencil and pen and digitally. Deep tones and bold patterns for river scenes achieve a lush, decorative quality reflecting the girl’s oneness with nature, while paler tones and bland furnishings create a sterile interior space, mirroring her inability to replicate nature. Close-ups of the girl’s face convey joy, excitement, wonder, dismay, and eventual acceptance. Her fish-shaped barrette and fish-patterned dress and bathing suit cleverly echo the very visible red fish. She is depicted with light ocher skin and purple hair.
Moving and evocative visual storytelling. (Picture book. 3-7)