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Review of Goldfish on Vacation

Goldfish on Vacation
by Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by Leo Espinosa
Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g
4/18    978-0-385-38611-1    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-385-38612-8    $20.99

Three city-dwelling siblings, goldfish owners, feel sad for the derelict, once-magnificent fountain at the end of their street. Then a sign appears on the fountain: “COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL GOLDFISH LOOKING FOR A SUMMER HOME.” Day by day, the children and their grandfather watch as a park worker cleans up the fountain, turning it back into something beautiful and functional. When it is ready, the children, along with others in the community, bring their goldfish and plop them in. Lloyd-Jones’s straightforward telling of this amiable story is amplified by Espinosa’s bright illustrations that bring a sense of joy to every page. Both text and art hew to the young protagonists’ perspective as they look out their window at the fountain, listen to Grandpa tell stories, and finally join neighbors of all ages and races to bring their goldfish outside for their summer vacation. Of particular delight is the double-page spread that appears at this point in the narrative, showing the gleeful goldfish in their new environment. In an author’s note, Lloyd-Jones tells of the true event that inspired the story.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

About Monica Edinger

Monica Edinger, a fourth-grade teacher at the Dalton School in New York City, blogs at Educating Alice and the Huffington Post. She is the author of Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad (Candlewick), illustrated by Robert Byrd.

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