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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Clarion Books: Fish Girl

  • David Wiesner & Donna Jo Napoli
  • Hardcover: 182 pages
  • Full colour
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • ISBN-10: 0544815122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544815124

  • Clarion Books (7 Mar. 2017)
      • Cover price on Amazon varies from £12.53 to £19.99

      The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater. 

      A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl's longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl's story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.

      Yeah, like I care who won what award. But a review book is a review book..even if it means my shelves are closer to collapsing.

      So the book arrived.  Did I really -really- want to read some bland story about "growing up"? I mean, I've done that already -some of you may have, too- it ain't great shakes.  Teen girl angst? My head would need a toilet bowl fast.

      So the book itself is very nicely packaged.  I took a deep breath and jumped straight was around 0200 hrs  so I needed something to make me sleep.  Fail.  The art is absolutely wonderful and it looks hand drawn and water coloured.  I actually ran through the book about three times to look at the art before I even started on the story!  The art is that wonderful. THIS is how you should do comic art though it would take a lot of time.  Cue: "But this was all digital, Terry!" If it is....I retire.

      And I really liked the story but here is the thing: I did not read it as a young girl (not me -the character!) growing up, yes, there was that aspect, but the whole thing seemed -to me- to be a modern continuation of ancient all seemed to be there...unless that was just me? There is the element of growing to be an individual with more freedom but I think by promoting it as just that will turn a lot of potential readers away.

      The scenes with Fish Girl, named Mira by her friend Livia, and the octopus are lovely. And Neptune has you wondering -just an attraction owner or-?  This is not "just a girl book" because I was thinking that even an X-Men fan (I'm talking about the pre-1995 real   X-Men comic and what it stood for) could appreciate this because Mira is, after all, "gifted" (?) in a way and trying to find her place in society.  The book works on so many levels so don't sell it short based on that "growing up girl" line!

      And I just checked. I need not retire just yet.  There is a Q&A with the creators at Publishers Weekly and, yes, this is drawn and water coloured art.  :-P I still got it.

      Buy it for your kids or for yourself.  Male or female. I read it straight through and I'll not read it again for a very long time because I want the reaction I got from the first reading!

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