Fish [NOOK Book]

Overview

My story starts the day that my parents told me we must leave our adopted home forever. Because of the soldiers and the drought we barely had enough to eat and we could no longer stay to help the people in our village.

Right before we were leaving I saw a fish in a small brown puddle and I knew I had to take it with me. The journey would be hard to get across the mountains—to the safety of the border and the people there who could help
us. Yet...
See more details below
Fish

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$6.99
BN.com price

Overview

My story starts the day that my parents told me we must leave our adopted home forever. Because of the soldiers and the drought we barely had enough to eat and we could no longer stay to help the people in our village.

Right before we were leaving I saw a fish in a small brown puddle and I knew I had to take it with me. The journey would be hard to get across the mountains—to the safety of the border and the people there who could help
us. Yet when I put the fish in the pot I never realized what we would have to face. It never occurred to me to leave Fish behind.

A subtle and sophisticated exploration of life, the strength of humanity, and survival in an unforgiving world, Fish is a story that will teach those who doubt that, when hope is almost extinguished, miracles can happen.

From the Hardcover edition.

As fighting closes in on the village where Tiger's parents have been working, the three of them and a mysterious guide set out on a difficult journey to safety.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books citation, PW said, "Narrated by a child whose gender is concealed by the nickname Tiger, this first novel grounds its allegorical plot in the tactile quality of its storytelling." Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Tiger's parents help people in a foreign country but they must escape when war breaks out. A guide with a donkey leads them over the mountains and to the border but his wisdom is more than the knowledge of the land. He knows, for example, that if he treats his donkey well, the donkey will trust him and not run off and, therefore, does not need to be tethered. Right before they leave, Tiger saves a fish from a dying pond and carries it with him as they escape. It becomes their symbol of hope throughout their journey. They encounter a muddy river where the father almost sinks out of sight (because he did not trust the donkey's sure footing), freezing weather, little food and water, and soldiers who want to hold them for ransom. Tiger, though only a boy, grows in many ways and learns valuable lessons from the guide: even though Tiger does not always see his mother, he feels her love. Therefore, he need not hold on to the fish to have hope. Although not fully comprehending war and primitive conditions in a third-world country, young children can identify with Tiger and the hardships he must endure and how important it is for him to save the fish during each scary situation. 2004, Delacorte Press/Random House Children's Books, Ages 10 to 14.
—Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Tiger's Mum and Dad are aid workers in a remote unnamed country that has been devastated by drought, flooded by rains, and besieged by political conflict. The villagers have fled across a neighboring country's border as war looms. Tiger has just rescued a fish from an evaporating pond-turned-puddle on the morning that his family and their Guide are preparing to evacuate. So begins a staggering journey of indomitable odds across a hostile land. The simple innocence of Tiger's first-person narration enriches this tale. His perspective reduces the insurmountable perils of war and famine into believing in a foreseeable future. The travelers' tenacious will and perseverance are dramatically emphasized against the threatening landscape. Tiger's care for Fish is instinctive and unfaltering. As water and supplies dwindle to nothing, there is never a question about saving the creature. To compromise its survival is to question the travelers' own. The pace is exciting and filled with crises and adventure. Readers learn to love and respect the Guide and his faithful donkey for their skills in scaling the treacherous mountain paths. They will be compelled to read on, mystified, worried, ever watchful, and willing for a righteous triumph. This novel has multiple dimensions that balance hardship with unwavering faith and gives hope within the darkness. Graced by a child's vantage point, it is a story that celebrates the human spirit and inherent kindness.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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+)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307523778
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/21/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 515,495
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

L. S. Matthews is a first-time author, and the winner of the Fidler Award for her book Fish, an award given for a first novel for children. She lives and writes in England.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

ONE

This story starts with the day I found the fish.

I was standing about with nothing to do, by the huge puddle I called a pond. Dad said it wasn't a proper pond, because the floody rain had left it there by accident, and it would disappear again soon.

I said, "What is it then? Because it's too big to be a puddle."

Dad had to agree I was right. He is quite tall, and it was as wide each way as three Dads if you laid them out head to toe, in a line.

At least, it had been that big. It had been shrinking every day since the rain had stopped, and now I realized that it had become the puddle that Dad had always said it was.

Anyway, I was standing about, as I said, with a stick in my hand poking at things, because there was nothing else to do. I couldn't swish the stick in the water because I couldn't get close enough to the edge. The mud was terrible. I had already fallen over in it three times and my clothes were covered in it. I wasn't worried about what my parents would say because they never minded, they were so busy anyway. Now that the rain had stopped, we could dry things again.

So I stood in the last patch of sticky mud before it turned into the liquid patch, and hit at some bits of green poking out of the water's edge.

All of a sudden there was a ripple and a flash, and a big fish leapt out of the brown water, making a rainbow in the spray as it flew in an arc and landed back--splash!--in the water again.

I had been feeling very gloomy a moment before. Now I stood and blinked and stared. Nothing moved. I wanted to see the fish again. The glow of the colors had flooded my eyes, like when you open the curtains on a lovely sunny day. I had a warm feeling all through, despite the mud.

I put one foot forward and tested the ground a bit further in. I had old leather sandals on and bare feet, but you wouldn't have known it. The mud had made big, oozy mud clogs around each foot.

I wanted the ground to be safe to walk on, because I so wanted to find that fish. But it wasn't safe--I knew I'd get stuck if I got any closer, and I was quite a way from the house, and maybe no one would hear me call and no one would come looking till teatime. I walked all around the edge, just in case, but it was the same everywhere.

Very slowly, because it is hard to walk in oozy mud clogs, I walked back up the rough earth path to the house.

Dad was there, because it was his turn to look after me and do the tea. He looked tired and dusty. We hadn't got much water for things like washing, in spite of all the rain.

We were a funny family--not like the ones in the books I read, which we'd brought from our own country.

That was one thing that was different about us for a start--we didn't come from the country we were living in now. Mum and Dad had brought me with them when I was little. They had come to this country to help the people, who were having a hard time.

And they were having a hard time, I can tell you.

First, it was boiling hot, but not like the summers in our home country. This hot was dusty hot, with no green growing anywhere. There had been bits of bushes and wispy dry grass in the beginning, I can remember, but after a while even that had gone. I had stroked the goats and the donkey who'd come to nibble at it. Then they stopped coming and I missed them and asked why they didn't visit anymore.

Mum had said, "Because there's no more grass and leaves." She had pushed her hands through her hair when she said this, and had looked so tired and sad, I was surprised. I didn't know she'd liked the animals visiting too.

The boiling hot had stayed for what seemed like forever. The people Mum and Dad taught, and sometimes helped with medicine, ran out of water and food. We were luckier, because our country was still looking after us with some food (not very nice food) and bottled water. I asked, Couldn't we give our food and water to the people?

Mum and Dad said that our country could only give enough for us really, but they were sharing as much as they could. All the people in the whole country needed food and water, and medicine, and there were thousands of them. Our little bit couldn't look after all of them.

All the same, I sneaked bits to share with my friends in the village. Most of these didn't have parents anymore because they'd been killed in the fighting in other villages. They'd come to our village because it was safe here. Some had an uncle or aunt to stay with. Lots of the women had lost their husbands and some of those women became the children's pretend mums. It probably sounds bad to you, and now I'm older, I understand better, but the fact is that all that seemed normal to me at the time and I didn't think much about it, because that was how I grew up.

Most of the kids played and teased like any kids. Some always stood in doorways with big scared eyes and never spoke. The kids who were playing might ask them to come and join in once, but when they didn't would then ignore them as boring. It was annoying when we needed an extra for some game or other. I asked Mum what was the matter with them, and she said that they'd had a terrible thing happen, or had seen something terrible. It was like a nightmare, and you know when you first wake up from it you can't just go back to sleep? They were stuck in that feeling.

So I tried a bit longer and a bit harder than my friends and one or two of those ones came round and started to play, with time, if we kept on at them. The ones who didn't I called "lost," and I felt a funny feeling like a big black stone in my chest when I looked at them, staring at nothing as we played, or rocking on the floor and growing thinner every day.

More and more of those, and some grown-ups, too, were turning up every day.

We had a ritual every morning, taking the corners of a blanket with a friend on it who couldn't walk at all, maybe with no legs. We'd pull them out to join in with whatever we were up to that day, or take them where they wanted to go. One or two of them were quite bossy, but they were brilliant at thinking up games.

One day, the rain came. At first it was exciting, and I thought everything would be better now. But although Mum and Dad laughed at me dancing in it, and came out and danced with me when I dragged them out by the hands, they still looked worried underneath, if you know what I mean.

The rain was very heavy, so heavy it hit you hard on your head and shoulders, like someone dropping a big bucket of water on you, but over and over again without stopping. You couldn't think or hear or see. Me and my friends grabbed the blankets of the ones who didn't walk and raced them back into their houses again. I sat inside and waited for it to stop. And waited.

That night, as I lay in my little bed on the floor, I heard the drumming and thrumming of the rain on the roof stop, and thought, At last. Now I can go to sleep. And maybe I can go outside and play in the morning.

But then there was a sound of people talking at the door. I could hear Dad getting ready to go out. I got out of bed and asked Mum what was happening.

She said, "The rain has come down so fast and heavily on the dry hard ground that it hasn't soaked in. It's run off and made rivers and has flooded people's homes. Dad's going to try and help rescue some of them."

In the morning Dad was on the big bed, fast asleep on top of some towels, with all his clothes still on and wet through. We let him sleep just a little bit longer, because he looked so tired, but then we had to wake him up and make him get changed and dry properly.

He sat up in bed with a hot drink and explained, "You know that big crack that runs across the top of the hill above the village where we were walking the other day, and I told you not to go near it?"

I nodded.

"Well, the rain had poured into it and just cut off the side of the hill--all the hill on the outside of the crack just fell away. And the rain made some of the earth into mud, and some of it was in big lumps and rocks. The whole lot fell down and covered the houses on the edge of the village. It's called a landslide when that happens. We did get some people out. . . ." And then he stopped and just looked into his cup, and Mum said it was time for him to try and sleep again.

That rain was the rain that had left the pond. The water was drying up everywhere, and the few hungry animals left quickly ate any tiny green shoot that appeared. Instead of a dusty brown country, we were in a muddy brown country. And it started to get colder. This country was very cold at night, and cold all the time in the winter. The dead bushes were soon all gathered for burning. Trees on the hills had been cut down for firewood long ago. Dad said, if that hadn't happened, the trees' roots would have helped stop the land moving when the rains came.

We'd been short of water before because there had been no rain for so long. Now everyone was short of water, though it lay in big pools and filled ditches all around us, because it was bad, poisonous water. People who drank it became ill and some died. It wouldn't be so bad if you boiled it, Mum said, but where were the people to get firewood to make the fires to boil it?

I was telling you how bad it was for the people here. And if the weather wasn't bad enough, there was some kind of war going on, though I never heard or saw it.

"Everyone is so sick and hungry and weak. How could they fight?" I asked Dad. He just said, "If there is any food, or any water, the soldiers will always get it first. They are not as sick and weak as the people we see here every day."

So now you understand why I was gloomy, just before I saw the fish. We'd had only some kind of boiled porridge to eat for days now. The fact that there wasn't very much of it was the only good thing about it, as far as I could see, although I was hungry all the time. We followed every meal of this with a vitamin C tablet for dessert. This was the closest thing I had to a sweet, and I made it last as long as possible by sucking it very slowly.

Then my playmates from the village just disappeared one day. All the families and orphans and widows were leaving. Mum and Dad were busy in the day as never before, but more worried and serious in the evenings. They sat up late talking, talking.

"Why is everyone going? Where are they going?" I asked.

"They have heard that the war is coming here. And there is no food left here anyway. They are trying to cross the border into the next country."

"Then they will be all right?" I asked. "Why don't we do that?"

"The next country is being kind and letting them in, but they need to find somewhere proper to live. They've made a refugee camp, but it's just tents and huts. There is still not enough food, water and medicine for everyone, although the charities are sending it as fast as they can. Our people back at home have been telling us to leave for some time. We could go back there. But we wanted to stay and help for as long as there were people here that needed help," Mum explained. She looked worried, as always, but now as she looked across at Dad, there was something else in her eyes.

"Why are you looking like I do when I'm fibbing?" I said suspiciously.

Mum looked surprised and then she laughed and took my face in her hands.

"Oh, I'm telling you the truth. It's just, it's all right for me and Dad to risk staying on. And we want to do the right thing by all our neighbors here. They can't just pack it in and go home--this is their home. But we have to think about you, too. And staying here is not good for you. It's difficult. We hoped things would get better. We thought we could stick it out. But now it's not if we leave, it's when."

I didn't really follow all this, but I think it dawned on me later, when I was trudging back up the path to tell Dad about the fish, that Mum had said "when we leave," and that meant, the world was not going to be like this forever and ever, and things would be better soon--at least, for us.

When I got to the house door, Dad was stuffing things into bags. A big pot of porridge--lots of it, I noticed glumly--was boiling on the side.

"Oh, there you are! Exciting news," he said, trying to put on a pleased face over his worried one. "We're setting off back home. We've had absolutely last orders to get out. The war is coming here and anyway, the last people have left--there's no one here for us to help anymore. Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time before the soldiers start moving."

I wondered why he was hurrying with his packing so much, if there wasn't any danger, but I didn't say anything, just stood there with the mud on me sliding slightly toward the ground. He looked up from pushing a battered saucepan into a duffel bag and took another look at me.

"Oh, for Heaven's sake, look at you. Still, you may as well use up all the water now for washing. I've packed what we'll need. There's no time to dry those clothes, that's all. Look, just leave them here. You just need clean ones on and some warm ones in your bag for the nights."

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

"We are a funny family—we didn't come from the country we were living in now. Mum and Dad had brought me with them when I was little. They had come to this country to help the people, who were having a hard time.
And they were having a hard time, I can tell you.

First it was boiling hot, but not like summers in our home country. This hot was dusty hot, with no green growing anywhere.

The people Mum and Dad taught, and sometimes helped with medicine, ran out of water and food. We were luckier, because our country was still looking after us with some food and bottled water.

I sneaked bits to share with my friends in the village. Most of these kids didn't have parents anymore because they'd been killed in the fighting. They'd come to our village because it was safe here. It probably sounds bad to you, and now I'm older, I understand better, but the fact is that all that seemed normal to me at the time and I didn't think much about it, because that was how I grew up."
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 132 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(99)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2012

    80th Hunger games! New member!

    Hello! My name is Anita Troves but everyone calks me Annie. I am 12 years old and have brown curled hair and blue eyes. I come from district 12. I was friends with Prim Everdeen at school in 12 before it was destroyed and sadly before she passed away. I make an excellent spy, being so small , and am very quick too. Weapons I can use are Tridents, swords and knives , and a bow and arrow. Swords being my best. I am a quiet shy girl who noone rarely notices me, but I was taught to fight with my 2 older brothers who died fighting as rebels in the big war againest the captiol. Anyway, I hope you consider putting me in the games! - Annie

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    nightclaw laughs ( i left her for her own benifet in my family t

    nightclaw laughs ( i left her for her own benifet in my family to become a demon your heart has too be filled with hatred like when my mother sent my brothers to kill me then i changed into a demon and learned what i had to do and then we have to be killed and reserected as a demon but i need her body for that and the cat i sent to kill her said he left the body here with her fake mother ( she then turns to silverfang and said) i never liked you(she leaps on sliverfang and pins her down grabbing her neck and sufacating her not that she kills her but enough to were its hard to breathe( now i know you have the body give it too me or i pop her head off like a mouses( she sinks her blood stained claws into silverfangs cheat to were it bleeds

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    sahphirapaw: i can help you entill you get a mentor i tech you w

    sahphirapaw: i can help you entill you get a mentor i tech you what firestars taught me so far( she smiles at firepaw)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    Superb book!

    Great story of a young child and a fish. An adventure story with an engrossing plot.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    It was great!

    It is an enjoyable book to read for children all ages. I haven't finished it yet but it sounds great so far. Enjoy reading it!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    Hi

    Fish

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    Ali is blocked

    Ugghh

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    <>

    Hah, hell no you won't.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    Frankie

    Jaaaaaaack! †–† I need to st<_>ab someone in the eye and shove a phone so far down their throat they won't be able to do anything besides p<_>ee and run. Anywaaaays, some stuff has happened. I'm sure you've seen Layla around OT. She's my bestfriend and she reaaaaally needs me right now. She's gonna be gone for about two months, and I wish to be there for her. I'm not entirely sure if I'm gonna be gone for the whole two months, maybe only a month. Buuut, if Serena isn't back by the time I get back, I'll make it up to you for being gone. That is if you'll allow me too. ‹: Bai, Jaaaack.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Jack

    My Nook won't take charge, thus, I will be going. My Nook is dead. I might return in may..but Frankie..knoe..I love You.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Kevin

    Hey

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Britany

    Kk

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    To no. 2

    You forgot nationwide is on your side

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013

    Lexi

    Josh im not the lexi ur talking about. Look her post is still there right now.. im sorry :/

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    Wow

    15 min could save you 15%or more on car inchurecs call giaco just so you know i ont work for giaco

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    MissGinger

    Hey whats up ?..

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Bagerkit

    Whimpers

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    To all

    There will be a gatherig held at 'the gathering' please attend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    CreekFeather

    Sorry i was gone... what became of this clan?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)