cover image Barry, the Fish with Fingers

Barry, the Fish with Fingers

Sue Hendra, Knopf, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0375-85894-9

Hendra's (Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli) extended play on words (where else would fish fingers come from?) provides TV cartoon–flavored entertainment for the very young. Barry, a cheerful blue fish, appears with 10 fish fingers—which look like they've been fried to golden perfection— and shows Sea Slug and a group of bored fish the many things fingers can do. "With fingers I can... Knit a scarf! Count to ten! Type a letter! Make a paper chain!" Even better, Barry's fingers can also point to danger, as when a crate of Pirate Jack's Tasty Fish Sticks falls to the ocean floor. Thanks to Barry's warning, all the fish get out of the way in time and are shortly equipped with fingers of their own. Hendra's big flat fish and tropical colors shine out from the deep blue of the ocean water, while googly eyes and varying shapes provide lots of visual interest. Not much happens, but this unrelentingly cheerful outing at least has the virtue of being free of conflict—it's G-rated bedtime reading for even the littlest sardines. Ages 4–8. (June)