cover image Fish and Sun

Fish and Sun

Sergio Ruzzier. HarperAlley, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-307663-1

It’s dark and cold and boring under the ocean in this early reader comic by Geisel Honoree Ruzzier (the Fox & Chick series), and Fish, a muddy pink individual with red fins, has had it: “I’m going out.” Up above the water’s surface, “it was also dark and cold and boring”—until a yellow shape with curly tentacles rises above the horizon, brightening the waters and the sky. “You are very warm,” Fish says admiringly to Sun, and the two fall into an easy rapport: Sun suggests a game of hide-and-seek, darting behind a cloud in a moment of subtle foreshadowing. But after a day of light and play, Fish sees that Sun is turning red and sinking lower in the sky. Though Fish does not understand that Sun’s setting prefaces its return, young readers will, adding compassionate context to the following panels, which portray Fish’s sorrow. Painted seascapes in rich colors warm minimal text by Ruzzier, and small details will draw laughter—Fish sleeps underwater with a small pillow. The understated plot allows new readers to focus on the well-chosen words and meaningful emotional arc, and Ruzzier’s slightly bonkers visual world-building keeps things fresh. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]