Care+feeding Fish CL

Sarajo Frieden, Author
Sarajo Frieden, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-395-71251-1
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In Frieden's determinedly whimsical debut, a girl named Loulou is heartbroken when her pet fish, Harold, outgrows his aquarium--and his kept status. The trouble begins when the fish, a gift from Loulou's eccentric great-aunt Eclair de la Lune, gets his fins on a ""mysterious leather notebook"" titled ""The Care and Feeding of Fish"" (its handwritten pages appear as part of Frieden's tale). The manual includes instructions about naming your fish (""Does he strut around with a princely air? Call him Lord Frou-Frou"") and having him fitted for formal clothes at the tailor's. Harold promptly sprouts arms and legs to become Loulou's constant companion for dancing and parties, until the interest he develops in opera lures him permanently away from home. Loulou pines for her scaly friend, but in the end learns that there are more fish in the sea. Frieden, whose wordplay and flamboyant, action-filled paintings recall Maira Kalman's work, displays a bold imagination and a fondness for puns: Harold enjoys ""practicing his scales in the shower,"" and he's never ""bored to the gills."" But the logic within the story can be cloudy, and Harold himself remains a cold fish--it's hard to tell what Loulou sees in him. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
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