Zebrafish

Overview

Vita is a purple-haired singing queen, and she has big dreams for her rock group, Zebrafish. But when she holds auditions for the back-up band, tryouts are sorely lacking in the musical ability department. Luckily her new bandmates—Walt, Tanya, Jay, and Plinko—have other talents. But lately Tanya has been missing a lot of rehearsals. When Vita discovers why, she realizes that the group can be about much more than one person, one band, or even one school. A concert won’t cure Tanya’s cancer or make her treatments ...

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Overview

Vita is a purple-haired singing queen, and she has big dreams for her rock group, Zebrafish. But when she holds auditions for the back-up band, tryouts are sorely lacking in the musical ability department. Luckily her new bandmates—Walt, Tanya, Jay, and Plinko—have other talents. But lately Tanya has been missing a lot of rehearsals. When Vita discovers why, she realizes that the group can be about much more than one person, one band, or even one school. A concert won’t cure Tanya’s cancer or make her treatments any less painful, but, in their own way, Zebrafish can make a difference—and the tale of their unlikely success is sure to strike a chord with young readers looking to make their world a better place.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Several friends, led by the purple-haired Vita, try to figure out how to make their band work despite the

fact that no one knows how to play anything. But when Vita, whose older brother is a cancer researcher,

learns that band-member Tanya has leukemia, she begins to wonder how their upcoming performance

might be put to a greater good. Emerson’s graphic novel (developed with Peter Reynolds’ FableVision

media company) succeeds on several levels: the characters are credibly diverse in personality and

appearance, and their individual stories are carefully twisted into a full and complex story arc.

Additionally, information about leukemia’s physical toll on a young patient and research methods to

combat it are integrated cleanly and without didacticism. Full-color panels vary in size and shape, with

scenes moving from the stage to a soda shop to the back corridors of the hospital. Gentler and for a

younger crowd than Judd Winick’s Pedro and Me (2000), this bouncy cartoon story nonetheless mines

equally serious territory, and stands a good chance of finding wide popularity to boot.

— Francisca Goldsmith, BOOKLIST, March 15, 2010

Vita is having a hard time making friends and meeting people at her new school until the day she holds auditions for her rock band Zebrafish. While she has big hopes and dreams for the group, she’s disappointed with the kids’ musical talents. However, she finds skills and abilities in these new bandmates, and they all work together to create a music video. As the band plans and strategizes, Vita can’t help but be disappointed that one member continually misses meetings. Then she learns that Tanya has leukemia, and Zebrafish holds a fundraising concert to help the hospital get the medical equipment it needs. Illustrations vary greatly in size and color; some are full page, some are full spreads, and others appear in panels. All are uncluttered and easy to follow. Clear and sharply inked, the color art makes a fine contrast between light and dark scenes and creates balance and tone throughout. This book will speak to children about fighting for a cure/treatment for cancer and shows the value of involvement in this important issue.–SLJ, May 2010

School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Vita is having a hard time making friends and meeting people at her new school until the day she holds auditions for her rock band Zebrafish. While she has big hopes and dreams for the group, she's disappointed with the kids' musical talents. However, she finds skills and abilities in these new bandmates, and they all work together to create a music video. As the band plans and strategizes, Vita can't help but be disappointed that one member continually misses meetings. Then she learns that Tanya has leukemia, and Zebrafish holds a fundraising concert to help the hospital get the medical equipment it needs. Illustrations vary greatly in size and color; some are full page, some are full spreads, and others appear in panels. All are uncluttered and easy to follow. Clear and sharply inked, the color art makes a fine contrast between light and dark scenes and creates balance and tone throughout. This book will speak to children about fighting for a cure/treatment for cancer and shows the value of involvement in this important issue.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Created by Peter H. Reynolds's media studio, FableVision, this heavy-handed graphic novel depicts a predictably multicultural bunch that starts a band and works despite their differences. Punky Vita yearns for fame and, with the help of her brother Pablo, who works in a hospital researching drugs, decides to follow her true calling. A well-placed sign leads to the formation of Zebrafish, a band made up of Vita, darker-skinned, overweight Plinko, skinny Jay, aloof, artistically gifted Walt and his sister, Tanya, who is suffering from leukemia. This quintet ultimately wants to use their music and art to make the world a better place. The group-so tritely composed they could have sung backup for a certain large purple dinosaur-displays little genuine personality. On a positive note, those who relate to the do-gooder message will be delighted that a portion of the proceeds benefits the Children's Hospital Boston; otherwise the overall story lacks any real cohesion, tending more toward the didactic than dynamic. An odd and stultifying mixture of bland and saccharine. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416995258
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Series: Zebrafish Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 705,028
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

FableVision is an award-winning children’s media developer and book packager founded by Peter and Paul Reynolds.

Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of I’m Here, The Dot, and Ish; and illustrator for the New York Times #1 bestseller Someday by Alison McGhee. He is also the illustrator of Going Places, Little Boy, Charlie and Kiwi, and the Judy Moody series. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he is co-owner of the Blue Bunny bookstore. Visit Peter at PeterHReynolds.com.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book!

    ZebraFish is a good book but I dont think its worth the $22 I paid for it. I recommend it to music fans between 8-12. It only has 120 pages that arn't even close to being full, put it this way, I read it in 13 when I was reading fast. But overal it has good detail and Awesome pictures. Thanks, T-Dawg

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for TeensReadToo.com

    Vita decides she wants to form a band, but first she needs members - and they have to learn to play instruments. Vita recruits band members at her school and they decide to put on a concert. When the band learns that fellow member, Tanya, has leukemia, the band decides to change their concert to a fundraiser for cancer research.

    The good thing about ZEBRAFISH is that it's never overly preachy about doing good. The characters are diverse and I'm sure readers will find someone to relate to. Tanya's illness is touched on, but this isn't a cancer book. This is more a story about finding friends and putting your talents to work for a good cause.

    Because there are a lot of main characters, you never really get to fully know each one, and I would love more back story about each of the band members. I'm glad to know there will be another ZEBRAFISH book coming, so hopefully we get to know the band more.

    Even though the story deals with some hard topics, the book never feels weighed down by that storyline, which I think will give it lots of appeal for readers who want a realistic story that's not issue-heavy. The artwork is bright and colorful and will appeal to fans of comics and graphic novels.

    I would give this one to tweens looking for a realistic fiction comic book, and it would be a great book to start a discussion about fundraising and volunteering.

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