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The Birthday Fish
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The Birthday Fish

by Dan Yaccarino
 

Cynthia loved ponies. All she could think about was ponies. Every birthday Cynthia wished for a pony and every birthday she got something else.

An adorable new picture book about an unlikely friendship

Cynthia has always wanted a pony of her very own and is sure her parents will give her one for her birthday. But to her dismay, they give her a

Overview

Cynthia loved ponies. All she could think about was ponies. Every birthday Cynthia wished for a pony and every birthday she got something else.

An adorable new picture book about an unlikely friendship

Cynthia has always wanted a pony of her very own and is sure her parents will give her one for her birthday. But to her dismay, they give her a goldfish instead. Determined to get rid of it, she puts the fish in her doll stroller and sets off toward the lake. But during the walk, Cynthia discovers that this is a little fish with a big personality- could it be even better than having a pony?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cynthia "just knew" she would get a pony for her fifth birthday, "and she would name him Marigold." But the polka-dot box she receives is too small for a horse, and instead contains a globular fishbowl and an orange fish with scalloped red fins. In a move that could give readers the wrong idea about fish care, the disappointed Cynthia begins tipping the fishbowl into the sink, and reconsiders only when her new pet protests. Like the magical fish of the fairy tale, it promises, "I will give you what you wish for [in this case, two ponies] if you will take me to a lake and set me free." Cynthia promptly sticks the bowl in a stroller and heads lakeward, meanwhile protecting the fish from a cat and some roughhousing boys, sprinkling some food in its water and shading it from the noonday sun. As in his artwork for Bittle, whose cat and dog mistrust a family's new baby, Yaccarino shows a bond developing. After a long trek, Cynthia and the fish watch the sunset by the lake and she matter-of-factly says, "Let's go home now, Marigold." In his characteristic unmuddied palette, smooth paint surfaces and ovoid, lava-lamp shapes, Yaccarino crafts a story of friendship and acceptance. Ages 3-6. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Every birthday Cynthia wished for a pony, and every birthday she got something else. Author/illustrator Dan Yaccarino grips the reader immediately with this opening. Will the girl finally achieve the pony, named Marigold, of her dreams? The very title of The Birthday Fish answers the question. The story then becomes one of the girl's growing affection for her small pet. The fish, who turns out to be both verbal and magical, promises to grant Cynthia a wish if she will release him in the nearby lake. Does the tale end with a pony? No, with a fish named Marigold. Yaccarino's gouache paintings are a real wow for the eyes—and perfect for this tale about the perfect birthday present. 2005, Holt, Ages 3 to 6.
—Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Cynthia thinks about nothing but ponies. Every year for her birthday and for Christmas, she asks for one and every year she receives something else. But this year, she is quite sure things will be different. She is surprised and disappointed when she opens the gift from her parents and discovers a goldfish. When she tries to pour it down the drain, the fish pleads with her to spare its life and promises to grant a wish if she sets it free in a lake. As they walk to the lake, Cynthia slowly realizes that the fish is pretty special and the perfect pet after all. Yaccarino's highly stylized signature illustrations, rendered in gouache on watercolor paper, are a perfect complement to the amiable story. Children will sigh with satisfaction upon reading the final lines of this droll, likable book.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this deceptively simple tale, a child obsessed with ponies doesn't get one for her birthday. Cynthia is so sure that she's already picked out a name-Marigold-and such is her disappointment when her gift turns out to be a goldfish, that she heads straight for the drain with it. But when the fish promises to grant her wish if she takes it to the lake instead, she plunks the bowl into her mini-stroller and trots off. Yaccarino creates a retro look for the accompanying art, dressing Cynthia in a school uniform-style blouse, vest and tartan skirt, and placing her in a wide suburban setting of geometrically exact houses and trees. The lake turns out to be a long way off, under a hot sun, over a bumpy sidewalk, past an intent cat and other hazards; the two arrive just in time to admire the sunset. " 'It's late,' said the goldfish. 'Yes it is,' replied Cynthia. 'Let's go home now, Marigold.' " The bonding falls between the lines, but thoughtful readers and listeners will understand how it happens, and really perceptive ones may even see it coming. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805074932
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
06/01/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
AD570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Dan Yaccarino is the writer and illustrator of Unlovable. He has illustrated many books for children, including Bam, Bam, Bam by Eve Merriam. Mr. Yaccarino is also the creator and producer of the very successful Nickelodeon series Oswald. He lives with his family in New York City.

Visit Dan Yaccarino at his website: www.danyaccarino.com

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