Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cybils Book Review - Fabulous Fishes

Fabulous Fishes, written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale, is, in a word, FABULOUS. It is exactly the type of nonfiction picture book that will capture the attention of readers and have them begging for more.

The text is written in simple, rhyming format. What Susan Stockdale has accomplished is elegant, because using words that are easy to read yet highly descriptive, she has given us an introduction to the amazing diversity that exists in this group of animals. Here is how the book begins.
Round fish,
fish that like to hide.
Striped fish, spiked fish,
fish that leap and glide.
The depth and breadth of information provided in the pairing of text and illustrations is astounding. Readers can learn about fish color, shape, size, and camouflage. Reading through the text made we want to know the names of the fish depicted, where they lived, what they ate, how they adapted and more. Let me repeat that. This book left me wanting more information.

Some of this thirst for information was quenched in the back matter, where each fish is pictured again in miniature and identified by name. Also included is a brief bit of information about it, as well as the location(s) where the fish can be found in nature. Here's what I learned about the porcupinefish.
When threatened, the porcupinefish blows up like a spiky balloon so it will appear too large to fit into a predator's mouth. (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans)
Featuring 20 species of fish, the acrylic illustrations are brightly colored and boldly rendered. Each fish is pictured in its natural environment. The overall selection of fish is quite varied and helps readers to understand that fish come in all shapes and sizes, and that in many cases, the shape is not the "standard" fish shape so many of us imagine when we picture a fish. The illustrations in this book are a visual delight. You can learn more about the creation of the book in the article Every Picture is a Story.

I am crazy about this book and found so much to enjoy in it. You will too. I highly recommend this delightful introduction to these fascinating creatures.

Book: Fabulous Fishes
Susan Stockdale
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Date Published:
32 pages
Source of Book:
Copy received from publisher for Cybils consideration.

For all you teachers and librarians considering this book, be sure to check out the teacher's guide for the book.

Other Reviews: Young Readers


  1. Sounds like a good one. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I agree that sounds like one to look for! Thanks.

  3. I'm working on a book called Picture Book Science, and this book sounds like one I should check out. Thanks for the tip.

  4. This sounds like the type of book that would be perfect to read with my kids before a trip to the aquarium during the winter. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Cool! Another book for the TBR pile. This is one I'll definitely track down. Thanks for the great review.

  6. I love this book. Peachtree asked me to write the teacher's guide, and it was such fun to work on. I'm happy it was nominated.