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*Fish on a Walk* by Eva Muggenthaler
Fish on a Walk
by Eva Muggenthaler
Ages 3+ 32 pages Enchanted Lion January 2012 Hardcover    

This unique book encourages picture discovery in the wonderfully detailed double-page illustrations and features only two words at the bottom of each layout.

Fish on a Walk features inventive images such as a country scene showing bridges near the bank of a river. But one bridge comes out then goes back into the river. Two fish are strolling across the bridge; one is holding a camera, the other holding an umbrella.

Beneath this bridge is another bridge that goes from one side of the bank to the other and it is covered with bugs waiting to cross. The two words that accompany this illustration are: “Usual – Unusual.”

Some of the other word pairs that encourage out-of-the-box thinking and discussions because they are seemingly antonyms include “Alone – Together.” This illustration shows a seesaw. On one side an elephant is perched precariously and reaches for cherries on a tree. On the other side, a pile of animals try to offset his weight to lift him higher. The words “Alone – Together” are multi-dimensional, because though the elephant is on his own, he is still together with his friends.

The illustrations show that situations are not always clear and simple, and that there are different perspectives on words and situations. Another picture illustrates how the same situation can be positive for one character and negative for another: a rainy day scene in which dogs dressed in business attire are walking with umbrellas–all except one, whose umbrella has turned inside out over his head, leaving him drenched. The ducks and the frogs in the inverted umbrella, however, are quite happy. The words describing the scene: “Happy-Sad.”

The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and original. The combination of words add a new slant to an otherwise wordless book because it encourages imagination and spirited discussion and increases the range of the book’s audience to include older children.

Fish on a Walk is a modern art show with fun and stimulating images which serves as a great springboard for conversation. Ages 3 and up. Five stars.

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  Maya Fleischmann/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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