Stead and Cordell take their readers on a big adventure to save a tiny fish.
A tall black boy named Sherman has big news to share with a pigtailed white girl named Sadie: bratty white birthday girl Amy Scott has decreed that goldfish are passé. Amy is so emphatic she’s thrown her birthday goldfish, still in its baggie, into the sea. Sadie disagrees, and aided by a band of chicly-dressed monkeys, she and Sherman begin an adventure to rescue the abandoned goldfish. The combination of Sadie’s steadfast confidence and Sherman’s facial reactions drive the story to a celebratory conclusion that brings the entire town (and an ostrich) together. Stead’s dialogue-only text is concise and dryly humorous, conveying both Sadie’s calm determination and humorous quips. Cordell’s artwork—a vigorously scratchy mixture of ink and watercolor—brings the characters to life. The presentation ranges from expansive details of sea life to quick sketches of action, but the focal point is always Sherman and his quiet fear as the adventure persists. Children will love examining each page to see the escapades of the monkey companions as they travel alongside the duo. The detailed artwork is better suited for lap-sit reads than large storytimes, and this may become a favorite part of the “getting ready for bed” ritual in many homes.
Readers who are looking for more moxie in their lives will love this absurd adventure. (Picture book. 4-8)