cover image Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale

Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale

Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by Alexandra Boiger. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86918-1

An "Ample Roundy Fish" named Miss Doreen Randolph-Potts stars in this testament to the power of positive thinking (or dumb luck). On her way to visit a "second cousin twice removed who's just had 157 babies," the babushka-wearing, umbrella-toting Doreen is hooked by a fisherman, snatched up by a heron, and dropped in a potentially fatal plummet. But Doreen only sees the upsides: "What a remarkable swimmer I am!" she says as she's pulled to the surface on the fishhook. Not so for Lloyd-Jones's (Just Because You're Mine) tut-tutting narrator, who is quick to point out to Doreen that "The one thing you're not is lucky. This may be the most awful day of your life. Worse%E2%80%94it may be your... last." Is the narrator meant to be snarky, ironic, or genuinely concerned? It isn't always clear. There's no ambivalence, however, in Boiger's (the Tallulah books) waterfront scenes, with their pretty, gossamer washes of blues and greens and relatable, comically drawn characters. The images leave no doubt that Doreen will end up right where she's supposed to be. Ages 4%E2%80%938. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Mar.)