FISH SOUP by Ursula K. Le Guin
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 & up
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A lighthearted, if carefully honed, fable that young readers can enjoy for its whimsical good humor while adults ponder Le Guin's continuing exploration of yin and yang. The "Thinking Man of Moha" lives in a tidy Victorian mansion, keeps a cow and a garden, catches fish, and serves nutritious meals featuring milk and vegetables. The "Writing Woman of Maho" lives nearby in a splendidly untidy stone cottage with a crowd of cats and winged mice, binding her books and occasionally making fish soup. The two visit each other for amiable meals and conversation; when the man suggests that they might have a child (to carry messages and finish the pudding), the woman doesn't see the point; neither one, in fact, wants to give up any part of their established role. Still, the woman agrees, though "I have a feeling it many not be so easy." Two half-grown children materialize; and, after the couple realizes that the boy is growing too large because the woman expects too much of him, while the girl consists of only a dress and shoes because the man expects too little, a cheerful accommodation is reached, incorporating the new generation. Though almost schematic in its simplicity, the tale engages with its imaginative touches of fantasy, elaborated with wry common sense. Wynne, new to children's books, enhances it enormously with his charming drawings, with forms announced in bold, sure lines and completed in delicate stippling. The illustrations are crammed with amusing and intriguing details, especially the delightful mice. A classic. (Fiction. 5+)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-689-31733-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992


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