In Fisher’s (If I Could Pull the Moon from the Sky, 2014, etc.) latest children’s book, a young fish saves his lake from toxic pollution.
Tyler the fish lives in Lake Erie with his fish family and friends. Burns’ illustrations show a smiling cartoon Tyler and his friend swimming through a cool indigo lake. Burns’ strength is in her colorization; Tyler and his friends have green scales with pretty shimmers of yellow and fuchsia. The cool, subtly graduated ocean hues are likely to soothe young readers. Text layout is simple but clearly legible, with easy-to-understand words. While playing tag, Tyler and his friends swim into new territory. The peaceful scene changes as they encounter murky, polluted waters. Tyler quickly discovers leaking barrels stamped with skulls and crossbones. He devises a plan requiring the collaboration of all the fish and sea gulls to raise awareness among humans. In this way, Tyler shows the young reader how to engage others in teamwork toward a common goal. Additionally, Tyler sets an example by also asking for adult assistance. The story briefly touches on the impact of human waste on the environment and animals. Luckily for Tyler and his friends, the humans promptly comply with the animals’ cry for help. More might have been added regarding the complexity of the issue and the specific ways that young readers can become conscientious environmentalists. Children may wonder where the toxic barrels came from. Children may observe too that although the issue is solved neatly, the water is still polluted. However, the story can serve to inspire conversations about eco-consciousness among young readers and caretakers.
A brief story packed with lessons about teamwork, problem-solving, and environmentalism.