FISH by L.S. Matthews


Age Range: 12 & up
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In an unnamed time and place a war has reduced the population to starvation levels. Now they must flee the soldiers from both sides. Led by a wise guide, husband-and-wife aid workers and their young child, Tiger, are the last to leave, heading for a nation whose borders have been closed to refugees. Tiger rescues a fish from a fast-drying mud hole and carries it throughout the harrowing journey. An introduction states that a powerful story can help young readers connect with harsh realities that seem removed from their daily lives. However, in an effort to achieve universality, the possibility of a real connection is diminished. The characters have no names or nationalities. It is unclear whether Tiger is male or female. The adults treat each setback with calm acceptance, perhaps to spare Tiger. But the lack of strong emotion serves to lessen the intensity. Everyone survives even the most dangerous and violent event without explanation. There are allusions to mysticism and allegory as well via the Guide and the fish. It’s all probably way over the heads of its intended readers. Well intentioned, but flawed. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 6th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-73180-9
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2004


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