A Tree for Mr. Fish

Peter Stein. Imprint, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-75871-2
This laugh-out-loud story centers a literal, and very grumpy, fish out of water. Mr. Fish, the very picture of dour with pouty lips and a stony stare, lives on a tree branch. After friends Cat and Bird meet on the tree one morning, he insists that they vacate the premises. When the purported interlopers point out that Mr. Fish’s very existence in the tree goes against fish physiology (“How are you even alive right now?” Bird asks), Mr. Fish digs in, thanks to a handy and improbable device called a Roly Bowl (“For the fish on the go”). Stein (The Runaway No-wheeler), working in digitally colored pen and ink in a stage-like single plane, relates these testy encounters, Mr. Fish’s backstory, and his efforts to find friends once he realizes how lonely he is with impeccable comic timing; Mr. Fish’s first attempt at throwing a party is a classic social disaster. If this were Aesop, Mr. Fish would reap what he sowed, but Stein resolves this story in a spirit of trans-species collaboration and friendship, and some ingenious construction likely to draw giggles and requests for repeat reading. Ages 3–6. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/15/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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