The Little Black Fish

Bizhan Khodabandeh. Rosarium (IPG, dist.), $7.95 trade paper (52p) ISBN 978-1-4956-0729-5
Khodabandeh, a graphic designer and artist, debuts with an adaptation of Iranian author Samad Behrangi’s allegorical children’s book, first published in 1967, about a fish seeking knowledge of the larger world. Inspired by the artwork of activist Bihjan Jazani, Khodabandeh draws the fish’s daring journey in delicately outlined images whose saturated colors and chunky geometric shapes have the bold impact of stained glass. There is no shortage of violent moments—a lizard tears off its own horn and gives it to the fish as a dagger, which the fish later uses to tear open the pouch of a pelican after being caught—yet the violence is stylized, blood transformed into unspooling curls of magenta and green. The story is told primarily through dialogue, and color-coordinated speech balloons keep the substantial text organized and easy to follow. Questions of bravery, dissent, deceit, and willful ignorance are raised throughout—the fish has little patience for small minds or weak constitutions (“You’re disgracing generations of fish,” she tells a sniveling fish she meets in the belly of a heron). Memorable both for its imagery and the ideas it presents. Ages 7–9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 52 pages - 978-1-4956-0730-1
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