Book Reviews of The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish
The Rainbow Fish
Author: Marcus Pfister
ISBN-13: 9780439234634
ISBN-10: 0439234638
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 28
Rating:
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 6

4.7 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

13 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
While many see this book as a lesson on sharing, it's closer to one of conformity. The Rainbow fish is singled out because he is concited (yes, a negative trait) - but also because he won't share (or give up) that what makes him different. In the end, he gives all his rainbow scales, save one, to the rest of the fish - so they all look alike and ultimately become friends. While sharing is a positive lesson, giving up individuality for the sake of "fitting in" is NOT the lesson I want my children (or my students) to learn. Please, take my copy of this awful book!
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book has beautiful pictures.
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 20 more book reviews
This is just like the larger hardback version and every page has the shiny scales
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 24 more book reviews
Beautiful art and great storyline as well. A must for every child's storytime book shelf!! I love this book!!
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 2 more book reviews
Execllent book to teach your kids how sharing makes you happy!!
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 40 more book reviews
A favorite read for my kids, teaches a wonderful lesson about sharing and friendship.
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on
ISBN 1558580093 - It's a rare thing that I read a childrens' book knowing full well that there is an actual critical debate going on about it, but The Rainbow Fish is one of those. With that in mind, I'll begin with those parents. The message any child gets from a book that is read to them is more dependent upon you than the contents of the book. If you're going to be all freaked out by some wacky idea that this book teaches socialism, you're going to convey that to your child and you will do more harm than the book, all by itself, ever could - in that case, just pass up this book. No harm done to anyone. While I think you're crazy, I think you have the right to make that choice.

If, on the other hand, you can manage two things: to actually read the book and get the message (which isn't socialism/fascism/communism and isn't really sharing, either) and to understand that you are not 4 years old and your 4 year old doesn't think the way you do, then this book is worth picking up.

A beautiful, conceited fish lives in the deep part of the ocean. His scales sparkle and shine as he swims through the ocean - alone. The other fish attempt to befriend him, but he ignores them until one day when a small blue fish approaches him. The small blue fish tells the Rainbow Fish how beautiful his scales are, and asks for one of them. Horrified, the Rainbow Fish refuses and swims on, puzzling aloud over his loneliness. A crab directs him to an octopus, whose advice is simple: give away his scales to the other fish and he will be happy. After some thought, and a second request from the small blue fish, the Rainbow Fish takes the octopus's advice and finds friendship and happiness.

Let's face it - this book has a large number of 5-star and 1-star reviews for a reason. Here's my two cents on those reasons: One, look closely at reviews and you'll notice that many negative reviews are for the board book edition, which is truncated to suit the format. The book has already been translated from its original language (Swiss) and then it's edited to fit a smaller book - of course there is going to be missing information in that version. Two, adults are reading this book, assessing it by their own standards and forgetting that children see a very different story here. Adults see the scales as what they are in the real world: a part of the body of a living creature that doesn't talk. In this book, which isn't the real world (as evidenced by the talking fish), the scales are more comparable to clothing or jewelry - a possession, not a physical feature. Adults also seem to fail to see one glaring thing: while their eyes are on the "give away your possessions" issue, they forget the way the story starts. In the beginning, the Rainbow Fish is vain and lonely, concerned only with his scales and their beauty, certain that he should be liked for his beauty alone ("I really am beautiful. Why doesn't anybody like me?").

The idea that the message here is about sharing is easily proven false. The summary inside reads "The most beautiful fish in the entire ocean discovers the real value of personal beauty and friendship" - not a single word there about sharing. The message in this book is more about not letting your possessions possess you, about understanding that others won't like you just because you're pretty, and about recognizing that friendship isn't about someone else adoring you but about sharing something, even if all you share is play time (not necessarily possessions). For that alone, if those are messages that you're able to convey to your child, the book is worthy of the shelf space. Add in the lovely pastel illustrations (and the person saying this usually despises pastel illustrations) by Marcus Pfister with the scales that actually sparkle and you've got a winner. The worst I can say about the book is that, perhaps, something is lost in the translation by J. Alison James. Children will enjoy the story and be very happy that, in the end, the Rainbow Fish isnt alone anymore. If you like this one, be sure to catch up with the sparkly fish in ISBN 0735820848 Rainbow Fish Finds His Way.

- AnnaLovesBooks
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 129 more book reviews
This is such a cute book for young children. It was one of my daughter's favorites in preschool-1st grade.
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 6 more book reviews
It is one of the best childrens books I have ever read.
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 141 more book reviews
The very colorful book was a good read for the more experienced child reader. Teaches a wonderful lesson!
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 380 more book reviews
Great book for preschoolers-good message, great art work.
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 7 more book reviews
This is a great book!
reviewed The Rainbow Fish on + 46 more book reviews
Classic children's book emphasizing sharing.