Swim! Swim!

Lerch, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-09419-1
Readers may not take away any lessons about how to be a good friend from this story about a goldfish desperate for companionship, but they'll find no shortage of laughs. Lerch the fish (really author/ illustrator James Proimos) narrates his own story in speech bubbles: "I'm lonely," Lerch announces with a piteous frown and eyes full of longing. "I need to find a friend." Confined to a fish tank, he looks for love in all the wrong places. He tries to befriend colored pebbles ("So, you are not talking"), a plastic deep-water diver, and aerator bubbles, eventually concluding, "It's official. No one loves me." Lerch's dilemma is both accidentally and dramatically resolved when a cat takes a special interest in him (and insists on calling him "Lunch"). Lerch hangs above the cat's toothy smile for a page before the cat plops him into another tank with a fish named Dinah ("Lunch! Meet Dinner!"). Proimos's high-energy digital illustrations, which appear in comic book–style panels, play up Lerch's emotions at every turn, from his extreme elation at discovering potential friends to his devastation when they don't work out. Ages 4–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
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