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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suggestion if the "message debate" has you on the fence...
If you have read through some of the controversy, and are on the fence about this book, I would suggest buying the full hardcover version rather than the board book edition. Having read both, I can more readily agree with the naysayers' point of view when applied to the board book. The text is simplified in such a way that makes it easy for a vigilant parent to...
Published on Dec 2 2002 by J. Hanselman

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ten reasons to avoid this book at all costs:
This book has won several awards and is beautifully illustrated, thus I made the mistake of purchasing it for my daughter without reading it all the way through. Don't make the same mistake.
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...
Published on Feb. 5 2001 by Maura W. Flynn


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A suggestion if the "message debate" has you on the fence..., Dec 2 2002
By 
J. Hanselman "jbarbie23" (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Board book)
If you have read through some of the controversy, and are on the fence about this book, I would suggest buying the full hardcover version rather than the board book edition. Having read both, I can more readily agree with the naysayers' point of view when applied to the board book. The text is simplified in such a way that makes it easy for a vigilant parent to misunderstand the message.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple Message of Sharing, March 18 2003
By 
BerkshireBlueberry (Hopewell Junction, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Board book)
Socialism?? Entitlement??? My goodness. I have always felt the only drawback of this book is that it is overly simplistic, so I was stunned to see the hysteria in some other reviews.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confused by the nasty reviews!, Oct. 6 2013
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Hardcover)
I have avoided buying or reading this book for several years because of the many terrible reviews I have read on here and elsewhere, but a friend just passed along the board book edition (c 1996) for my kids and I finally read it. I have absolutely nothing against it. I am not sure how the two versions compare other than I presume that the board book version is shorter and has a condensed story line. I was prepared to hate the book having read such terrible reviews of the general story line, but I feel quite the opposite -- that the message is a nice one and has to do with being kind to others, sharing and being selfless.

It starts out with the Rainbow fish being mean to other fish because of vanity and arrogance, but it is because of this that he has no friends. He discovers, towards the end, that it is not about what you own and what you look like, but who you are inside and the good deeds you can do for others--in this case, sharing some of his precious "possessions" with the other fish--have a meaningful lasting effect on him and other fish.

I have read a negative review stating that it basically encourages uniformity and a lack of personal identity. I completely disagree. By the end, many of his new friends have matching scales but they are displayed in unique places. I read into this to mean that we are all connected and it is in giving to others that we are most humbled and admired, and receive the greatest sense of fulfilment unmatched by physical and material possessions from this kind of generosity and selflessness.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ten reasons to avoid this book at all costs:, Feb. 5 2001
By 
Maura W. Flynn (Alexandria, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Hardcover)
This book has won several awards and is beautifully illustrated, thus I made the mistake of purchasing it for my daughter without reading it all the way through. Don't make the same mistake.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prefect!, Dec 30 2013
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This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Paperback)
This book is prefect for teaching children the qualities of sharing. We bought this book as it work well with our programme for the Sparks in Girl Gudies of Canada. Our Girls loved it too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book- the Rainbow Fish, Jan. 30 2013
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This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Board book)
Use this book in an art class with kids 6-8. Loved the book and the art we created from it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good message, Jan. 20 2013
By 
Kelly Beattie "mom, wife, teacher, animal lover" (Sioux Lookout, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Paperback)
This is a cute story about friendship and acceptance. I read it to my gr 1 class and then we created our own rainbow fish with watercolour paints and foil.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Flashy fish, Jan. 16 2007
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Hardcover)
Well, I disagree with the majority of the reviews...I liked it. The fish does give away all of its shiny scales, save one the best one for himself. I think the book teaches sharing. And yeah, if you have abundance in the midst of dearth, can you really be happy with everyone else in need? I don't know. Taking into consideration the possible damaging effects of "Rainbow Fish" I rate it 4/5 ... I liked it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Rainbow Fish, Oct. 30 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Hardcover)
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is probably one of my top favorites. The special effects on each page are very pretty. The scales on this peculiar fish aren't just normal and dull, but they are shiny and rainbow.
The book starts out with Rainbow Fish adoring his scales. He would glide through the sea proud of his beautiful scales. But when the other fish would call to him to come and play he would be too indulged in himself to even pay attention to the other fish. One day a small fish asks him to share a small scale so he can show the beautiful scale off too. The small fish angers the Rainbow Fish because he thinks he shouldn't have even asked. No one would want to give away gorgeous scales! After a while no one wants to play with him. He is puzzled and goes to the wise octopus. The octopus says that if he shares a scale with almost every fish in the sea, he will be happy and loved.
The book teaches a lesson that describes how beauty comes from within rather than on the outside. A good lesson that almost every child should know for a key to happiness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great children's book!, July 28 2001
This review is from: The Rainbow Fish (Hardcover)
This book is beautiful to look at and the story is sweet. One could interpret the story as a sacrifice, a sell-out, if you will, of one's natural beauty for friendship. But that's not what this is about. It's about finding a beauty and a joy deeper than that of the physical. Only through sharing, through giving, can one find a truly genuine happiness. An excellent book!
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The Rainbow Fish
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (Hardcover - Jan. 27 1999)
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