--This text refers to the Board book edition.
The award-winning book about a beautiful fish who finds friendship and happiness when he learns to share is now available in a board book edition for the youngest child.
However, I found the hardcover book to be perfectly lovely. In this version, it was more clear that the reason the Rainbow Fish had no friends was because of his arrogant attitude and unwillingness to share - not because the other fish were envious, or needed to be "bought" with gifts. The sharing of his scales was not to "buy" friends or to promote communism - rather, it represented his learning three important lessons: 1) that his identity need not be tied into his appearance or his possessions, 2) that he shouldn't consider himself to be superior to the other fish just because their scales were a different color than his, and 3) that sharing your blessings with those around you makes you - and them - feel good.
I highly recommend this book, in its original version.
Books for children this young are meant for parents to use as a teaching tool, and I've used this book to talk about how good it feels to share our gifts and blessings. The wonderful watercolor- and-glitter illustrations capture even wiggly kids' attention. After giving away my son's copy, I'm back to buy another because I'm using it with a class.
Is anyone else catching the irony of those reviewers who warn this book espouses Entitlement by demonstrating the virtues of sharing? I mean, what they are teaching their children -- that no one else is Entitled to what THEY own (sound like the snotty Rainbow Fish at the beginning of the story?) -- is the essence of Entitlement: I've got mine and the rest of you are out of luck. God help us.
This is the story of a beautiful fish who is hated and ostrasized by all the other fish in the sea because they envy his beautiful silver scales. I assumed that the moral of the story would have something to do with everyone being beautiful in his or her own way, and that eventually the other fish would come to recognize their own beauty. Unfortunately not. Instead, the Rainbow Fish is harangued and harrassed by his fellow fish until he has given away all but one of his silver scales. In the end he is very happy because he has become popular.
The morals of this story are pretty shocking: 1.) It suggests that children should give in to peer pressure. 2.) It teaches children that friendship can be bought. 3.) It says that it is not only right, but a moral imperative, to sacrifice the very essence of yourself for the sake of popularity. 4.) It suggests that popularity is the ultimate good, and that one cannot be happy without it. 5.) It teaches that envy will be rewarded. 6.) It teaches children that it's okay to ostrasize people who are different. 7.) It teaches that rude behavior is acceptable if it gets you want you want. 8.) It suggests (to younger readers in particular, who may not be capable of grasping metaphor) that only outer beauty matters. 9.) It teaches that happiness can be achieved by tearing down or destroying what belongs to others. 10.) It preaches a kind of social Marxism: that there is no value in the uniqueness of an individual, that his worth and his happiness depend on his desire to conform to the values and demands of his peer group.
Frankly, I am astounded that anyone saw fit to confer any honors upon this book.