Undampened Spirits: Poor Doreen: A Fish Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones
IN THE DEEP DROWSY WATER
OF A LONG, WINDING CREEK,
AN AMPLE ROUNDY FISH CALLED MISS DOREEN RANDOLPH-POTTS IS SWIMMING ALONG
ON HER WAY UPSTREAM
TO VISIT HER COUSIN TWICE REMOVED.
Now, it must be said at the outset that Doreen, a plump perch in a babushka scarf, is clearly no a mental giant. Any fish who takes a red umbrella (open, it must be noted, in case of rain) on a long swim upstream is a few cells short of a brain. But Doreen is a perky perch who know NO FEAR.
When an angler ties a tasty-looking dragonfly lure to his line and dangles it in front of her, Doreen is pleased.
"A LOVELY SNACK FOR MY JOURNEY!"
Doreen takes the bait, hook line and sinker, and the angler winds her in. But is she distressed? Not at all! Poor dim-witted Doreen rejoices that amazingly she is swimming faster than ever.
As she dangles, hook in mouth on the line, she is snatched up by a hungry heron. Doreen admires the birds-eye view of her route and the shortcut to her destination, and, attempting to make polite small talk with her captor, asks him if he is a egret. The insulted bird opens his beak to correct her ignorant mistake, and poor Doreen falls, down, down, down from the sky. Is she upset? What? Me worry?
"I'M FLYING! WHOOPEE!!!"
Sally Lloyd-Jones' latest, Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2014), celebrates the never-dampened spirits of a rather dim-bulb heroine. Clueless but chronically cheerful, Doreen splashes down right where she wanted to be, in her cousin's corner of the creek with the 157 new hatchlings, rejoicing at the swift and pleasant journey she has had. Author Lloyd-Jones provides a woeful Greek chorus of an interlocutor, who fruitlessly points out poor Doreen's perils all along the way, (It's a TRAP!), the dangers of which her finny heroine is totally oblivious. Noted artist Alexandra Boiger pictures Doreen as a plump housewifely little perch whose optimism simply cannot be doused despite all odds, in her appealing pencil, watercolor and gouache-tinted illustrations that befit Doreen's watery world.
"Ignorance equals bliss in this amusing, cleverly executed tale," says Kirkus Reviews in their starred review.
Labels: Fish Stories (Grades K-3)