By Author / Illustrator
DK, Brendan Kearney
Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Paperback / softback
Through this charming story children will become aware of the growing problem of trash polluting the ocean. Fish highlights the issues with a simple and engaging illustrated narrative, and also suggests a solution in the form of recycling.
All Finn wants is to catch a nice, tasty fish for his dinner, but no matter how hard he tries all he seems to catch at the end of his fishing line is other people's trash. The longer he spends out on the ocean, the more crazy objects he collects! Finn and his dog Skip go home each day with a full boat, but empty tummies.
It isn't long before Finn finds a way to reuse and recycle everything he has collected. Pretty soon he makes enough money to make a tasty dinner every day, and under his care the ocean becomes clean, bright, and full of fish again!
In Fish, Finn and his dog Skip have work to do. Early in the morning, they head out in their little wooden fishing boat. On the way they see some sad looking seals. Not sure why they were looking so sad, they continued on to their fishing spot. After waiting and waiting and waiting, not one fish was caught. The ocean appeared to be.. Empty! Suddenly, Skip spots something, a ball bobbing in the water. He dives down to retrieve it but is met with.. a double page spread of an underwater mess!
A great build up, beginning with what appears a fairly typical story about a fisherman and his dog, but now the reader is witness to the underwater dumping ground.
Finn, still confused where all the fish have disappeared to, scoops out net after net of rubbish, filling his tiny boat until it's almost sinking. As the day draws to a close, they return to shore where they are greeted by a little girl. The girl is a beach cleaner and offers to help sort all the rubbish. She explains to Finn why he has not caught a fish all day - plastic! Plastic is damaging to the environment and sealife. The knowledgeable girl goes on to explain how plastic can be recycled, as well as many other materials. From then on, Finn recycles and mends anything that can be, and finds other ways to reuse what couldn't.
This is a must have book for any Early Years and KS1 classroom. There are many opportunities and possibilities to cover the curriculum through this text; environments, recycling, materials, community, pollution. Great, in depth conversations could be initiated purely by looking at the clear, detailed illustrations. What can you see? Why can't the fish live amongst the litter?
The text adds further information and a link to non-fiction could be made through the explanation of the damaging effects of plastic. Again, further learning and exploration around where should the litter go? And why do we have so much litter?
My class thoroughly enjoyed learning from this text and it is one of their favourites for discussion starters.
Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+
Fish is a charming story with an important and strong message about caring for the environment. The story is based around an elderly fisherman called Finn and his trusted companion Skip the dog. We join Finn early one morning as he rises with the sun and sets off to catch a delicious fish for his dinner. With line cast out, Finn and Skip find the hours slowly pass as they wait and wait and wait for that nibble on the line. Unfortunately for the pair, the ocean just seems to be empty of any fish. However, one thing it has in abundance is rubbish. Finn's small fishing boat is soon dwarfed by the tower of litter he has pulled from the ocean and with his rumbling stomach calling the shots, he makes his way carefully back to shore.
Upon arrival back, he is greeted by a little girl and her team of beach cleaners. She quickly explains their role in keeping the beach clear of any washed up rubbish before dropping some true facts upon Finn and Skip in relation to plastic pollution. It doesn't Finn too long to realise that he can help make a difference in a small way and he soon sets upon tweaking his life to help preserve the world he lives in.
Brendan Kearney has done a superb job in combining a heartwarming story with true, hard hitting facts. From reading this, it is impossible not to want to tweak your lifestyle in a small way.,..even if it makes you want to better your recycling skills. The message of plastic pollution has never been so important and this text is pitched perfectly at an audience who are in a position to listen and want to implement change for themselves. The children in my class where shocked when I explained further the damage plastics in the oceans have on animals who live there...they are now on a recycle mission!
This text is the perfect resource to aid the teaching of plastic pollution and helping the environment. I can see it primarily being used with KS1 but the message is very much accessible for all children across the primary age range. Not only has Brendan woven a tale through carefully selected words but he has illustrated the text in a style that works perfectly. The pictures and crisp, clean and simplistic but look sublime.
There has been a recent surge in books with a similar message to this but this certainly hits the right tone for a younger audience by sharing information through the telling of a charming story. Great work Brendan.
Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+