Aquarium life is anything but boring…it’s “FAB!”
Five orange fish named Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike meet in a pet shop; a little girl takes them home and plops them in a tank. There is something for everyone in the tank: gravel, diver, rock, pirate ship, bubbles…oh, and a snail no one cares much about. Their days consist of swimming and gulping and smacking kisses at the little girl (depicted with light brown skin and straight, black hair). Until tank cleaning day! After the indignities of being stuck in a bowl, the tank and everything in it is clean! Fab! It gets even better: “PLOP!” In drops a clownfish; he’s so funny! And then: “PLOP!” In drops an angelfish; she’s so beautiful! Then comes the fairy castle! “It is enchanting. / It is ornamental. / It is exotic. / It is … // A TRAP!” Lenny gets stuck in the door. Who can save him? None of the fish…but the snail no one cares for has an idea! Rylant’s perky exploration of pet fish life is delightfully enthusiastic and dotted with onomatopoeia. The appealing fish (and snail) are surprisingly expressive in Austin’s digitally created illustrations, which incorporate much of the text in large, capital collaged-in letters. The illustrations of aquarium life from the inside are cartoony and bright and resemble a mix of collage and watercolor.
Budding aquaculturists will enjoy this tale of friendship from a fish-eye view. (Picture book. 3-8)