cover image The Only Fish in the Sea

The Only Fish in the Sea

Philip C. Stead, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-282-8

Sadie, the inimitable hero of Special Delivery, has returned. Her arrow-straight sense of justice sends her in search of a birthday goldfish that Little Amy Scott has thrown into the sea, plastic bag and all. Sadie’s friend Sherman and the hilarious gang of monkeys from Special Delivery sprint to keep up as Sadie borrows a boat, plots a route, and sets off; her supreme confidence delivers them to precisely the right spot in the ocean, and Ellsworth (“Every fish deserves a proper name,” Sadie declares) is rescued in the nick of time. The monkeys’ mayhem is beautifully choreographed, Sherman is promoted to a full-fledged character, and Sadie’s obliviousness to nautical danger provides a keen sense of fun. (A fine Cordell split screen shows Sadie pouring Sherman a civilized cup of tea as a sperm whale threatens to upend the craft from below.) Stead never takes Sadie’s campaign for virtue too seriously, yet her shining sense of justice lingers long after the silliness subsides. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)