All bookseller links are provided so you can get more information about a book. We have affiliate relationships with Barefoot Books,, and Tapestry Books. All revenue generated from sales through these venues is used strictly to cover website costs and minimize donation requests and fundraising campaigns.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” More

      Printer Friendly

Click cover to buy:


Author: Gillian Shields

Illustrator: Dan Taylor

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: A little boy wants a dog. He already has a fish and his mom says there are lots of reasons they cannot get a dog. So the little boy decides to teach his fish to do dog tricks, like catching a stick and waging its tail. He also takes the fish outside for walks by pulling the fish in his bowl around in a wagon. Will this be enough to make him happy? This is a picture book about accepting what you already have.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Reading Level: 2.7

Age of Child: Read with and by a 5-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: My daughter picked this out because she liked the title. She liked how the little boy (who is never named) got creative and taught the pet he had new tricks. She laughed at some of the pictures showing the fish acting like a dog. She said that it is silly, but wouldn't it be fun if it were true?

Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this book and its message. It was funny and showed how good it is to have an imagination ... especially when you need to be content with what you have. I didn't think she would like it as much as she did. She really enjoyed the creativity of the little boy; it made her rethink some ways to play with some of her toys.

Pros: This is a fun story that is easy to read. It also has a great message that kids can relate to (even if they aren't looking to add a dog to the family).

Cons: If you are someone who likes books that are literal, you may not like the completely unrealistic notion that you can teach a fish dog tricks.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you regularly have conversations with your kids about enjoying what they DO have, this would be a handy book to have on the shelf.


Educational Themes: The story offers a great example of creative problem solving. Kids will be able to relate to the boy's interest in wanting a pet ... and how he didn't get mad, he got creative. Use this to help kids think about "old" things in new ways and to be content with what you have. Just because you don't always get what you want doesn't mean you can't enjoy your life.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, humor, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


Copyright © 2003 - 2018. The Reading Tub, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Reading Tub and Turning a Page ... Opening the World are registered trademarks of The Reading Tub Inc.
No use of these trademarks is permitted without written approval of The Reading Tub, Inc.
Privacy Policy.     Site developed by Sites2BeSeen.