cover image When Fish and Bird Meet

When Fish and Bird Meet

Chunhua Huang, illus. by Manon Gauthier. Reycraft, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4788-7532-1

In this lighthearted conversation, a googly-eyed fish and bird trade boasts about the different worlds they live in. A fish with a big nose and red lips and cheeks surfaces from a forest of water plants, nose-to-beak with a bird perched on a rock above it. “Why not come/ up here?” Bird calls. “Why not come/ down here?” Fish counteroffers. “Look!/ I can fly,” Bird announces. “Look!/ I can swim,” Fish replies, bubbles rising. “I can go/ down deep/ to the bottom/ of the sea,” Fish points out. “I can fly/ up high/ in the sky,” Bird retorts. The parallel jousting continues as Gauthier (Barbouillette!) collages with bold, childlike cut-paper shapes, covering them with lines and color. The collages are photographed; the resulting shadows add depth to the spreads. In this sprightly primer on words for action and location, Huang explores the ways that creatures are uniquely suited to their environments, with skills just right for them; the lesson is imbued with extra humor by Gauthier’s exuberant creatures, and the shapes around them mirror their energy with splashes of paint and scribbled lines. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)