Sophie's Fish

( 1 )

Overview

What naptime story would you read to a fish? When Sophie asks Jake to take care of her pet fish while she's on vacation, he says sure - how hard can it be to babysit a fish? But the minute he agrees, Jake starts imagining every possible fish-related crisis. What does a fish eat for dinner? How do you give him a bath? What kind of stories does he like? Pitch-perfect humor and wonderfully detailed, quirky illustrations make this a refreshingly funny and imaginative picture book.

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Overview

What naptime story would you read to a fish? When Sophie asks Jake to take care of her pet fish while she's on vacation, he says sure - how hard can it be to babysit a fish? But the minute he agrees, Jake starts imagining every possible fish-related crisis. What does a fish eat for dinner? How do you give him a bath? What kind of stories does he like? Pitch-perfect humor and wonderfully detailed, quirky illustrations make this a refreshingly funny and imaginative picture book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jake, a redheaded, bespectacled geek in short pants—sort of a young Woody Allen—wrings his hands over the prospect of taking care of his friend Sophie’s goldfish. “What if Yo-Yo gets hungry and wants a snack?” he worries. “What kind of snacks do fish like to eat?” White’s (Druscilla’s Halloween) loopy ink, watercolor, and collage spreads dive deep into Jake’s psyche, showing him offering a slice of Strawberry Worm Cake to the fish, who lounges in a chair in a formal suit and bowtie. Cannon (A Crazy Day at the Critter Café) pursues the boy’s concerns to their inevitably calamitous end, which has him envisioning the fish sobbing as it awaits Sophie’s return. A deftly executed sequence of panel illustrations provides genuine suspense as Jake plans to refuse the fish and awaits Sophie’s arrival with widened eyes. In White’s gentle idiom, there’s nothing frightening about Jake’s worries; they draw sympathy for him and, by extension, for any kid who expects the worst. And sometimes, as the gag ending suggests, it’s good to be prepared. Ages 3–5. Agent: Tracy Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A girl named Sophie asks our narrator Jake to babysit her fish, Yo-Yo, while she visits her grandmother over the weekend. Figuring, "How hard can it be to babysit a fish?" Jake says okay. But then he starts to worry. He really doesn't know anything about fish. What if the fish wants a snack? Or wants to play a game? What kinds of stories do fish like? Will it need a special blanket if cold? Jake's worries mount. Exhausted by all this, Jake decides to tell Sophie, "No." But when she arrives with Yo-Yo, he decides it "will be a snap." But from the looks of Yo-Yo, it won't be! Visualized in cartoon-y style using mixed media and collage, the illustrations aim to produce laughter. Even the titles on Jake's books are comic parodies. For snacks, Jake imagines a "strawberry worm cake" or a "bug antenna sucker." Most of the illustrations use double-page spreads, but a few vignettes of close-ups add to the humorous drama. Few words are needed to tell the tale with the surprise ending. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—After Jake agrees to babysit Sophie's fish for the weekend, he spends the afternoon concerned about this new responsibility: "I don't know anything about taking care of fish!" In an increasingly surreal series of imaginings, he worries about feeding, entertaining, and comforting his piscine guest. He is relieved when his friend informs him that he just has to feed Yo-Yo twice daily. "Babysitting Sophie's fish will be a snap!" ... but in a surprise twist, the pet turns out to be a giant, scary-looking lantern fish, perhaps not such an amiable guest after all. The rather ridiculous humor is reinforced by quirky mixed-media illustrations. Fishy details wait to be discovered by observant viewers, such as fish-shaped leaves on trees and fishily re-titled children's books. There's not much point to the story, but kids will enjoy the silliness that abounds in both text and pictures.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Transfixing artwork shows a boy's imagination running wild on the potential ramifications of pet sitting. When schoolmate Sophie asks Jake to care for her fish, Yo-Yo, for a weekend, he agrees, because "[h]ow hard can it be to babysit a fish?" But while waiting for Yo-Yo to arrive, Jake begins to worry. "What kind of snacks do fish like to eat?" he frets. White presents a massive Strawberry Worm Cake as a possible fish snack; standing atop the highest layer, Jake offers a slice to a laughing blue fish he finds sitting upright on a wire chair. The fish is as big as Jake. Next, Jake wonders, "[w]hat if Yo-Yo wants to play a game?" Here, the portrayed fish is several times Jake's size, dressed as a pirate and riding an enormous rubber ducky. Watercolor dominates the mixed media, inventively complemented by collage and drawing. Lines dance playfully around the shapes they're meant to outline, sometimes sliding off a shape's edge, sometimes bleeding into the watercolor. Tidbits of collage, sometimes of patterned paper, are fascinating yet never loud. Jake's shorts are watercolor, but his shirt is collaged plaid; the tissues the fish weeps into look like tiny cut-out photos; flower petals are delicate newsprint. Jake calms his fears just in time--well, just in time for the shocking Yo-Yo to arrive. Visually offbeat and beautiful. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670012916
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 631,653
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

A. E. Cannon (www.aecannon.com) is the author of several books for children. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Lee White (www.leewhiteillustration.com) is a Portlandbased illustrator of many children's books. Lee also teaches at the Art Institute of Portland. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, snowboarding, and surfing.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Ian

    Who wants me?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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