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CARL, THE CHRISTMAS CARP by Ian Krykorka

CARL, THE CHRISTMAS CARP

By Ian Krykorka (Author) , Vladyana Krykorka (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-55143-329-X
Publisher: Orca

This longer Christmas story with an old-world flavor is set in modern-day Prague and explores the Hungarian tradition of serving a carp for Christmas dinner. A boy named Radim goes with his father to select the live carp from the street vendors, and the unattractive fish is installed in the family bathtub until Christmas. Radim feels sorry for the fish and names him Carl due to a resemblance to the boy’s Uncle Carl. After discussing Carl the carp’s fate, early on Christmas Eve morning Radim and his friend Mila liberate the fish, slipping him back into the river. Mila’s family invites Radim and his parents to their house to share their chicken dinner on Christmas since Carl is no longer on the menu. The story is told with an old-fashioned tone and a dry wit, and it includes some interesting insights into life in a different country. The glowing watercolor-and-ink illustrations by a native Czechoslovakian are filled with explosive color and subtle streaks of white that effectively suggest wintry winds whistling down the ancient streets of Prague. For the Jewish take on the same story—carp equals gefilte fish for Seder dinner—find Barbara Cohen’s The Carp in the Bathtub (1972), still available in paperback. (Picture book. 5-8)