cover image A Fish Named Glub

A Fish Named Glub

Dan Bar-el, illus. by Josée Bisaillon. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453

Bar-el’s (Dream Boats) tale of a fish who changes the lives of the employees and patrons of a small diner has the scope of a novel. Like a small child, Glub learns about himself by echoing what he hears. His name comes from a girl’s exclamation—“Glub!” she shouts—and his first piece of self-knowledge comes from the girl’s mother, Jenny: “Leave that poor fish alone.” “Oh,” thinks Glub, “I am Glub, all alone.” With quiet humor, Bisaillon (Oh No, School!) shows the diner’s customers as a series of rear ends perched on stools, with Glub on the furthest one peering anxiously out at the world. Readers learn that grill cook Foster is sweet on Jenny, and wishes desperately for adventure and change; luckily (and unexpectedly), Glub possesses the power to show people their dreams, and he bestows his gift on Foster. While young readers may not be concerned with adult hopes and despairs, Bar-el’s lyrical prose and Glub’s underdog (underfish?) triumph offer entertainment for those who aren’t actively wondering what they’re meant to be doing with their lives. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Morgan Gaynin Inc. (Apr.)