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The Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister

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Author: Marcus Pfister / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 13 February 2007 / Genre: Picture Books / Publisher: North-South Books (Nord-Sud Verlag AG) / Title: The Rainbow Fish / ISBN 13: 9783314015441 / ISBN 10: 3314015441

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    7 Reviews
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      17.10.2011 21:24
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      Fantasic story

      First off, a bit of an explanation to make things make sense more! I have no children so what am I doing reviewing a children's book, well... In my previous job I was a youth and children's worker and led assemblies in primary schools and this book has been used by myself lots of time and there are so many reason why.

      First off though a bit of a plot summary. Our title character is The Rainbow fish and is the most beautiful fish in the ocean, with shimmering shiny scales. He is admired by the other fish for these shine beautiful scales and he loves the attention it brings him. The other fish try and make friends with him but he thinks he is so much better than them. After a while a small fish asks him for one of his shiny scales, so he too can also sine and shimmer in the sea. In an act of selfishness the rainbow fish says no. This type of scenario happens again and after time the other fish and sea creatures start to not like him. Upset by this he seeks the advice of a wise old octopus whose advice is simple - share! With that the rainbow fish begins to share his shiny scales and becomes befriended by the other sea creatures leading to a happy ending.

      Now why do I like this book? Well first the story is wonderfully simple and beautifully told, by the author, Marcus Pfister. The messages within this book such as how selfishness can make others feel about you and the dangers of vanity is wonderfully put, and in a way even the youngest children can understand. I have also used it with the older primary aged children aged 10 and even though the story is perhaps aimed at younger children they still loved it.

      The book is wonderful to look at and has wonderful full page colour illustrations. The shiny scales are beautifully done using a shiny material which makes the rainbow fish's scale really stand out.

      Overall this is a wonderful, richly illustrated book which tells a good story and has lovely lessons for life, A must for any children's book collection.

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      10.08.2010 15:29
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      This definitely ranks among the very worst children's stories I have ever read.

      This book has some of the most lovely illustrations I have ever seen. The seascape is painted in lovely shades of blue, green and purple, and the rainbow fish is not only brightly coloured, but has beautiful holographic scales, that catch the light as well the children's attention. After looking through the pictures, my sons could not wait to hear this.

      Unfortunately, having heard the story once, they have no interest in hearing it again. While the illustrations are beautiful, the story is not. It lacks any rhythm or rhyme, excitement, or interesting sounds, and any thing at all to hold the children's interest. As bright and fascinating as the artwork is, the story is equally dull and lacklustre to my children.

      While the children are simply bored by the story, I find it especially distasteful. The moral of the story is meant to be about sharing, in a very extreme form, as rainbow fish is asked to share, or more accurately give away his body parts. After the division of the rainbow fish's beautiful scales, the other fish are no more beautiful than they were before, but now the rainbow fish is equally plain and dull. I find the moral of the story to be conformity at all costs. As the other fish envied the rainbow fish for his beauty, he had to mutilate and destroy himself to fit in with those who could not accept him as he was. While isolating a character for being ugly would never be acceptable in a book, it seems fine to discriminate against someone who is different if they are beautiful. Beyond the horrible message of this book, it just strikes me as very, very poorly written. It relied on the gimmick of the flashy scales on the pages to sell, and it did sell very well. There is no quality whatsoever to the writing though, and I feel dooyoo's worst churners could pump out and equally good storyline in 5 minutes.

      I realise other people look at this book differently, and many very much enjoy it, so you'll have to judge for yourself. In my opinion though this book is huge disappointment. I have given it two stars in recognition of the lovely artwork, but a book without a story can not rate more than that to me, no matter how nice the gimmicks.

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        27.06.2010 19:53
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        A book to be enjoyed

        I have only just recently come across this storybook, whilst working in a day nursery and the theme being that of The Rainbow Fish.
        Although we shouldnt judge a book by its cover, this really is a pretty magical cover, which just makes you want to open it up and begin reading. The colours on the fish are beautiful and the scales do shine, which leads children wanting to touch them to see how they feel.

        The story is a sentive story about the rainbow fish who does not want to share his beautiful scales with anyone. Like most childhood stories there is a moral to the story. He wont share his glittery scales with any of his friends, so in the end he ends up alone. 'What use were Rainbow Fish's beautiful scales if they were no longer admired by anyone?'.

        Im sure you can guess the ending of the story, but I wont ruin it just incase!

        There are many learning opportunities for children in this story, which can be followed up in many ways. There are lots of sea creatures in the story such as, fish, octupus and star fish. This can be a good way to introduce children to these new animals with the beautiful illustrations in the story. One activity which I have done with the children has been to make their own rainbow fish collage. We ended up with a colourful, glittery, magical rainbow fish which is now on display, all the children are very proud of it. Along with the story there is also merchandise which you can get to go with it, for example we have a rainbow fish puppet which the children love playing with.

        Ok, well enough of me trying to be 'educational'. At the end of the day this is a lovely story which the children have enjoyed reading, it has a nice moral to the story which doesnt overtake the main storyline. It would make a great present for a young child, and keep them entertained!

        I think the story is aimed at children aged 3+. The book comes in different variations, such as a big book, paper versions, and hard back versions, in different sizes. So there should be something for you!

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          09.11.2009 15:13
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          Great story for pre-schoolers

          We actually have two versions of this book. The first my *eldest* daughter received on her first birthday from Surestart and I've now come to realise that this little hardback board book is a condensed version of the original. The second copy my *youngest* daughter received also on her first birthday, but from one of her Great Aunties. Now this version is an A4 sized paperback with the full length story inside.

          The book is written by Marcus Pfister and the blurb on the back says it has won many awards which is encouraging.

          The first part of this review will be about the second version we received (the long one), and then I will give my thoughts on the small board book version at the end.

          When my daughter opened this on her birthday I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed because the other version we have has probably been read a total of three times in the 2 years we've had it, so I was presuming this would be exactly the same. But once I had a proper look at it, I realised this one was much better with lovely clear illustrations and a very detailed story.

          The actual story is about a beautiful little fish who has scales of every shade of blue, green and purple, he also has lots of glittering silver scales among them. He is the envy of all the other fish in the sea and they named him the Rainbow Fish. The other fish thought he was amazing and always wanted to play with him, but because of his beauty he thought he was better than the other fish around him and generally ignored them.

          One day when a little blue fish politely asked for one of his shiny scales, the Rainbow Fish refused and told him to go away. The little blue fish was shocked by this and told all his friends what happened, so then none of the other fish would have anything to do with the Rainbow Fish.

          He was all alone, and one day poured his troubles out to the starfish, he couldn't understand why no one liked him when he was so beautiful. The starfish didn't know, but sent him to the wise octopus who advised him to give away his shining scales to the other fish and that way he might discover the secret to happiness.

          Rainbow Fish was a bit unsure about this and didn't think he could be happy without his glittering scales. But when the little blue fish returned and asked again for just one scale, the Rainbow Fish decided to give it to him. When the Rainbow Fish saw how happy this had made the little blue fish, he felt very strange inside and eventually ended up sharing lots of his scales with the other fish in the sea until he only had one left.

          At last he felt at home amongst the other fish when he was surrounded by glimmering scales, and he felt very very happy. And from then on the other fish were happy to play with the Rainbow fish and they were all friends together.

          I think this is a wonderful book for young children. It teaches a valuable lesson to young children, and tells a wonderful tale of sharing things, which is a big issue in our house at the moment. I think it goes about it in such a good way that my nearly 3 year old daughter cannot fail to understand the meaning behind the story. The message is clear - if you don't share your most prized possessions (or favourite toys), people will turn away from you and not want to play with you; but if you share your favourite toys, other children will want to play with you and you will make many friends.

          My eldest daughter is currently going through a horrible phase and is completely alienating herself from other children. She cannot stand anyone touching anything that she is playing with, kicks up an unnecessary fuss, and often has to be removed from the situation when there are other children involved. This is not good for her or anyone else! So I'm hoping that this book will go some of the way to help her understand the need for sharing and how it will make her a lot happier in the long run.

          The illustrations throughout the book are beautiful, everything is done in shades of blue, green and purple with foil stamped glittering scales on each page - it really makes the pictures stand out. And as we often read this before bed with dimmed lights, the scales often catch the light and sparkle which my daughter finds enthralling. I think the illustrations are done in water colour which gives the pages a sort of soft focus and the story a really calming feel to it - great for bedtime! Certain parts of the book are left white which I think really helps to highlight the beautiful pictures even more.

          I would say this book would be suitable for a child age 2 and above (I'm not sure why both my children received theirs on their 1st birthdays!) I don't think a child younger than 2 would be interested in this book, mainly because of the idea behind the story, but also because there is no rhyming content, which is what I prefer for younger children because I think it keeps their attention for longer. I don't think the illustrations would appeal to a younger child either because there is no sharp contrast between the colours and nothing really to catch a baby's eye.

          And having said that, my 1 year old is not interested in either versions of this book, but my nearly 3 year old LOVES the long version, she has read it so many times, and often over and over again in the same sitting. But she is still not interested in the small board book version we have, which I will go onto describe next.

          This is a small square book (approx 12x12cm in size) with 12 pages in total. The illustrations are the same as in the longer version, but just scaled down and they don't seem as vibrant. The actual story is the same but it's a very condensed version and it seems to be missing the 'meat' of the story. It's more like a summary of the real events and misses out the details you need to fully understand the message behind the story.

          Myself as an adult can understand what is going on, but a young child may miss out on what the book is trying to tell them. I feel like things are not explained fully and it seems that you get to the end before you realise what is happening. And it's only since I have read the full length version that I now understand why no one in our house is really keen on this smaller one, it just seems empty and unfulfilling.

          So I can fully recommend the full version to anyone with a child aged two and above, it's a beautifully illustrated book with a fabulous story which teaches a valuable lesson to children who are learning to share. But make sure you get the right one, not the shortened hardback!

          Price on the back is £5.99 but is currently available on Amazon for £4.41.
          And if you're interested, the board book is available on Amazon for £4.59.

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            20.08.2001 02:24
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            The Rainbow Fish is a magical tale that can be appreciated by young and old. The beautiful Rainbow Fish refuses to share his shimmering scales allowing the author to explore some important issues in a sensitive way. The story emphasises the importance of making friends and the sort of behaviour that endears individuals to others. However, these moral issues addressed do not get in the way of the enchanting story. The Rainbow Fish is packed full of magical illustrations. They follow the fish on his journey at the foot of the sea bed. The scales on the fish actually shine which captivates the imagination of the young. This book can be bought in a number of different formats. For fellow teachers the Big Book is the obvious choice. Parents will prefer the more reasonably priced and sized story book. There is also a hard board version available which is great for the very young who are not too good at turning the pages. To support the books there are a number of different merchandise available including puppets, dominoes and sticker books. The Rainbow Fish offers all sorts of opportunities to follow up the story. You could visit an aquarium, stick glittery scales on a fish collage and make fish shaped cakes - but don't forget to share them! Thanks for reading.

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              21.07.2000 21:00
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              The rainbow fish is an effective moralistic story designed to appeal to the younger child. a large part of the appeal must be the wonderful illustration which incorporate glittery rainbow fish scales that the fish is eventually persuaded to share with the other creatures. the younger reader is able to follow the storyline through the illustrations which require good observational skills in order to determine the next recipient of a covceted rainbow scale. the ending of the story is delightful and a clear moral message is put across to us all about vanity and lonliness.

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              14.07.2000 02:50
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              I really like this book. It is sweet and gentle and it has a lovely message in it. (to share and that sharing will in turn make things nice for you) The Rainbow fish is the most beautifull fish in the sea but he is also the most lonely until he learns to share... The illustrations are lovely soft and blue (the colour <g>) and my daughter loves looking at the shinny scales that the rainbow fish has. The book leaves lots of scope for talking about things after. Like Sharing, being nice to each other, being beautiful or not.. My oldest daughter was given this book when our youngest daughter was born and she has loved it since the first time we read it to her, and I have yet to tire of reading it for her. A lovely sweet (and not to long) book.

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