Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Something's Fishy

Something's Fishy

Kevin McCloskey
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
TOON Books, 2017   ISBN: 978-1943145157

When you go to a pet shop and look at the fish, most of them look very similar. They all have scales, fins, a tail, and they all have gills, which help them to breath underwater. The interesting thing is that out in the world, wild fish come in all shapes and sizes. They can be enormous, like the whale shark, or tiny like the clown fish. They can be pretty like the angelfish, or rather ugly (by human standards) like the monkeyface prickleback.

Though most fish do have scales, not all of them do. Eels are fish and they don’t have any scales on their bodies. Similarly, though most fish have a bony skeleton inside their bodies, a few fish, like the hagfish, have no spine at all. Just like the fish we see in pet shops, most wild fish have gills instead of lungs, but there are some exceptions. Lungfish have both lungs and gills, and mudskippers can actually leave the water and walk around on the land using their fins.

Some fish actually don’t look fishlike at all. The seahorse is a good example of this. The faces of these animals really do look horse like and they swim upright and cling to seaweed with their curly, prehensile tails.

Many of us are familiar with the fish species that we see in films, fish like clown fish and blue tangs, but these fish “are rare and hard to keep alive in a home tank.” Goldfish might seem like a boring pet to have, but they are perfectly suited to living in a tank and make good pets. In fact, they can live for twenty-five years if they are cared for properly. Gold fish have been valued as pets for centuries, and in the past were greatly treasured because they were rare. Who knew that the humble goldfish had such a colorful history.

This delightful picture book introduces children to the world of fish. The text is entertaining, informative, and often cleverly amusing, and the format will help young children to discover that nonfiction picture books can be a delight to read.