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What Do Fish Have to Do with Anything? [Paperback]

Avi , Tracy Mitchell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 3 1997
Award-winning author Avi creates seven portraits of life in the middle-school years. Readers will meet William of "What Do Fish Have to Do with Anything?, " who wonders why he shouldn't ask questions that have no answers. A minister's son, the baddest of the bad, is dared to be good in "The Goodness of Matt Kaiser." Always with a surprise built in, an angle unseen, these are stories that step just beyond the edge of the every day.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8. These short stories affirm the ability of their main characters to choose their fate. In the title story, Willie bravely searches for the cure for unhappiness. It, and the other stories, show readers the resilience and power of kids using their eyes and minds over accepting conventional adult wisdom. In "Pets," Eve comes up with a solution to the ghost cats who want her to join them, even though she is desperately ill. In "Teacher Tamer," Gregory sneaks into the house of his teacher to seek revenge for her persecution of him; instead, he comes to understand her. Whether facing a domineering mother, divorced parents, or a reputation as a bad guy, the protagonists take positive steps forward. It is this constant of taking action, of choosing the halo over the pitchfork, that make these stories inspiring. Some characters are crass and brash; others are introspective and quiet. Danger lurks in guns, ghosts, strangers, and unjust adults. It's a rare treat to be so surprised so consistently in a collection of stories that still adheres to its theme. Unpredictable and fun, these selections stand out for their inventiveness in dealing with difficult issues in a positive way without sacrificing the honest voices of real kids.?Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Avi (Finding Providence, p. 56, etc.) has experimented with virtually every literary form; here the versatile veteran returns to short fiction with seven thoughtful tales. In the title story a sixth grader's melancholy in the wake of his father's departure breaks when a street person offers a cure for unhappiness; the light tone of the following tale, ``The Goodness of Matt Kaizer,'' in which a daredevil minister's son learns, to his regret, that he's fundamentally a decent sort, gives way to the eeriness of ``Talk To Me,'' about a telephone that takes to ringing at exactly 4:00--but no one is on the line. In other episodes, Eve's dead ``Pets'' return to rescue her from two demanding ghost cats, a seventh grader finds out ``What's Inside'' when he narrowly thwarts an older cousin's suicide, and Gregory realizes that a compliment makes a better ``Teacher Tamer'' than a stink bomb. Mitchell contributes small black-and- white chapter openers, mostly portraits, to each story. Appealingly varied in tone and narrative voice, rich in character insights, and replete with imaginatively presented ideas, these tales offer something to please almost everyone. (Short stories. 9-14) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like short stories, you'll love this book! Oct. 22 2003
By Maria
Format:Paperback
Written in the signature Avi methond, this book is about lots of subjects.
Homeless People, Suicide, Ghosts, Divorce, Teachers and alot more. Avi keeps it real, making the things about events that do happen in 5th/6th/7th grades.
I recomend this to anyone who enjous short stories or who like Avi's stranger stories.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What a weird book April 11 2003
Format:Hardcover
This book is not very good. It is an easy book, for like 5th graders, Avi is ok, but not one of his best books. The short stories a weird and I don't really like them. Some of them made no sense and wasn't fun to read. In some of them were very suspenseful, and I didn't want to put it down. I am not sure if he made all of these short stories up, since I remebered from so where else. The title is a very weird name for a novel about a lot of short stories. From a book reader that wasn't pleased.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FISH! Oct. 18 2002
By A Customer
Format:Library Binding
SWIM LIKE A FISH IN THE SEA, BABY! MEGAN THINKS LLAMA'S ARE SEXY BEAST'S! YEA BABY! OH YEA, READ THE BOOK, IT'S GREAT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Have To Read It! Oct. 10 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In What Do Fish Have To Do With Anything?: And Other Stories, you always learn your lesson. From kindness to caring, Avi tells 7 tales of mystery and friendship. This book is funny and suspenseful, you never know what will happen next.
While you're reading this book, you can tell how the characters are feeling at all times. If I had written this book, nothing would be changed. I recommend this book to children ages 10-13. Remember, like the stranger across the street said, you always need more than what they say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What do fish have to do with anything?--Plenty April 5 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Even though the age range for this book is grades 5-8,Avi has written a collection of short stories that can be enjoyed by students of any age, up to and including high school. From the boy who wants to express his feelings to his parents, but needs them to be "captive" at a restaurant in order to make that happen, to the boy who asks questions with no answers, the characters in this collection are likable, searching, and very much wanting to do the right thing. I would highly recommend this book to English teachers who may be looking for a book of short stories to recommend to their students.
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