Fish

by L.S. Matthews

Tiger lives in an unidentified country, where his western aid-worker parents help... read more

Tiger lives in an unidentified country, where his western aid-worker parents help the local people cope with drought, devastating rainfall, poverty, famine, and warfare. When the escalating fighting nears their home, the family heads for the border on foot, led by a native guide. Their journey is complicated by a passenger; a fish Tiger found in a mud puddle after a recent storm. Tiger knows Fish will die when the water dries up, and he convinces his parents to let him cart it along in a cooking pot. As they struggle with harsh climate, dwindling food supplies, and a harrowing run-in with a trio of armed men, Fish’s safety is never far from Tiger’s thoughts. Although this contemporary tale succeeds at story level, the skillful use of symbolism and metaphor transforms it into a strong literary novel. Fish’s continued existence is clearly linked to the well-being of Tiger and his family. Tiger’s selfless behavior, which echoes that of his parents and the Guide, ultimately embodies a theme of hope for humanity. (Ages 10–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

show less