A Fishy Tale
by Annie Ward

"Let's save this little fishy mate
From ending up as breakfast
On that stinky fisherman's plate!"

Three sisters—Paula, Anna, and Zoe—discover a beautiful silvery fish at the bottom of a fisherman’s bucket while they are on a holiday with their parents at the beach. Worried that the fish looks “sad and frightened,” they come up with a plan to rescue it and tie their hankies together. Much to the annoyance of the fisherman, Anna finally manages to release the little fish into the ocean by scooping it into her pocket and tipping it from the hankies into the waves, and all three girls feel a sense of triumph at having freed their fishy friend.

Ward uses verse to craft a heartwarming story of friendship and compassion. Through the girls’ concern for the fish and their efforts to set it free, Ward brings out the thoughtfulness and empathy that are naturally present in children who love animals. While the sisters’ playful activities of running across the softest, whitest sand to the water’s edge reflect the joyous innocence of childhood, their decision to save a life reflects the matured awareness of responsible individuals. This respect for life at a young age is so charmingly portrayed that children will feel inspired to follow the little girls’ example. Additionally, reading about this act of kindness will help them develop a caring attitude, thereby making them better human beings. Great for reading aloud, this story has a cheerful, steady rhythm that will attract young readers and strengthen their language skills. The friendly tone of the story is enhanced by the soft, warm illustrations by Thea Ward that perfectly capture the beachy mood of the tale and complement the easy-to-read text. Delightfully fresh with a feel-good touch, this is an adorable rhyming picture book which beautifully conveys that selfless good deeds bring pure happiness.

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