The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Leveraging on Samantha’s love for fish, we bought her this book.

the rainbow fish

The Rainbow Fish is about a proud rainbow fish who was the most beautiful fish in the sea. She had no friends so she sought the advice of an octopus, who told her that she had to give away her beautiful scales to other fish, in order to have friends.

It’s to no surprise that the reviews of this book are polarised at both ends – you either love it or you don’t.

For me, I chose not to analyse the story too much and interpret it as purely to promote sharing among children. Among the book’s haters, some don’t like how it suggests socialism, while others feel that friendship that is ‘bought’ (with scales) is not true friendship.

However complex the interpretation of this book, it is beyond Samantha’s level of understanding now. For now, she enjoys looking at the beautifully drawn pictures of fish and other sea creatures, and hearing the simple story of how a fish shared her scales with the other fish in the sea. Perhaps we can re-read the book when she is older and engage in a more philosophical discussion on whether the rainbow fish made a mistake in giving away her precious scales.

The strength of this book is in the pictures (the rainbow fish’s scales are glittery). The story is written in simple language, with no attempt to use words that rhyme. Nonetheless, we found it a good read and will continue reading this book for a while…


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