Another imaginative, gently humorous story from the author of December Twenty-fourth (1986). On the way to school, Russell accidently drops his arithmetic book into a pond. When he and his teacher try to clean off some of the slime, a small fish falls out. A sad, distracted Russell puts the fish in his pocket, puzzles all day about what to do with it, and comes up with a solution that feels right--on the way home he returns the fish to the pond in a paper boat. This is subtle: the word ""death"" is not used, and the fish is too small to show much detail; the idea of caring or taking care is brought up in several ways; there is no suggestion that either book or fish be thrown away as valueless. Cazet does not sermonize, and his subdued watercolors lighten the mood considerably with woodsy autumn scenery, a bumptious class of warmly dressed animals and a textbook that has definitely seen better days. As is his habit, the author shows great respect for his readers. Fine exploration of a sensitive subject.