The Gen­er­ous Fish

Jacque­line Jules, Frances Tyrrell (illus.)

  • Review
By – February 24, 2020

Inspired by two sep­a­rate Jew­ish tales, author Jacque­line Jules has writ­ten a time­ly sto­ry about greed and gen­eros­i­ty. Gen­eros­i­ty is embod­ied by a young boy named Reuven. Every morn­ing he shares his break­fast with a small gold­en fish he spots in the shal­lows of his coastal vil­lage. Pre­dictably the fish grows, but less pre­dictably, its scales are tru­ly gold­en — and that’s where greed enters the sto­ry. The vil­lagers real­ize their for­tune is made and they demand scales from the fish’s body. At first, there’s plen­ty to share, so the boy and the fish give and give — but before long, the fish is weak, ill, and almost scale­less. It’s cru­cial for the town to work togeth­er — not to take, but to give and nurture.

The book deliv­ers its mes­sages — the duty to care for one anoth­er and for the envi­ron­ment— with gen­tle­ness and with­out judge­ment. Love­ly illus­tra­tions echo the gold­en sparkle of the fish and the mag­i­cal spell that nature casts through­out this story.

Leslie Kim­mel­man grew up out­side Philadel­phia and grad­u­at­ed from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Stud­ies; and Syd­ney Tay­lor Notable Books. Kim­mel­man is an edi­tor at Sesame Work­shop and lives with her fam­i­ly just north of New York City.

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