I USED TO BE A FISH by Tom Sullivan


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
Email this review


Fed up with the aquatic life, a fish ventures onto land, spawning eons of evolutionary change.

Bold, striking illustrations—black permanent marker outlines on a plain white background with solid blocks of red and blue—adorn this fanciful tale. As the now-amphibious creature becomes a reptile and then a mammal, it survives the events that kill off the dinosaurs, turns into a primate, walks upright, and finally becomes a white-skinned, red-haired, bearded man. Next come hunting, cave painting, and building structures of increasing complexity. The story ends with a small, white-skinned, red-haired boy dreaming of someday flying, superhero fashion. A timeline and author’s note provide additional information on the science of evolution written at a level far more advanced than the rest of the text. Evolution is, of course, a very complex topic, and Sullivan clarifies that he has written “a fictional story inspired by the science of evolution.” Young readers will get a general sense of the overall development of life forms over time and may be prompted to consider the abilities or characteristics they would like to develop if only wishing could make it so. Due to Sullivan’s choice of palette and style, they will miss the fact of Homo sapiens’ African origins.

While the book is visually appealing, the plot is very thin and not likely to inspire demands for rereading. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-245198-9
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016


ChildrenLIFE ON EARTH by Steve Jenkins
by Steve Jenkins
ChildrenGREAT BIG GUINEA PIGS by Susan L. Roth
by Susan L. Roth