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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.” More

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Author: Mark Pfister

Illustrator: J. Alison James (Translator)

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Publisher: North-South Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: The Rainbow Fish learns that being the most beautiful fish in the sea can be lonely. Ultimately he learns that there is more to be gained by sharing his special qualities than by keeping them all to himself. The story emphasizes not only the importance of sharing, but the joy that comes from giving.

Type of Reading: Family reading, Playtime reading, read aloud

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 6; read yourself: 5 to 8

Interest Level: 2 to 8

Reading Level: 3.3

Age of Child: Started reading with child 22 months old.

Young Reader Reaction: At first, s/he loved to hold the pages and make the Rainbow Fish glimmer. After a few readings, s/he would announce "the end" by page 3 and close the book. Now at 28 months, it's a regular playtime favorite

Adult Reader Reaction: There are subtleties beyond a young toddler's comprehension. That said, the basic premise (it's important to share) is easily understood. I thought the wordiness would deter interest. I was wrong.

Pros: Wonderful illustrations. Rainbow Fish is on the page opposite the narrative, so you can jiggle the page and make him shimmer while you read.

Cons: The pages are not likely to take a lot of toddler handling. Reading this one requires supervision (if you want the book to stay in tact). Recommend the board version if you buy.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow it, and plan to borrow it again at different stages.


Educational Themes: Even the youngest reader can understand the value of sharing. Older toddlers will appreciate how hard--but important--it is to share, even your prized possessions.

Notes: This is also available in Spanish.

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

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2003, March 2004

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