Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Winning, Winning, Winning? You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

It's a lovely day in the neighborhood, down among the sheltering shoals of the sea, and Rainbow Fish is happy when his new friend Red Fin suggests that all the little fish in their school play an under-the-waves game of Hide-and-Seek.

Rainbow Fish is pleased when Red Fin asks him to be the lead-off seeker. He knows everyone's favorite hideout and gloats to himself that he can find them all with one fin tied behind him.

"I'll find you all in a fishy flash!" he boasts.

He looks in all of their usual hidey holes but cannot spot a single fin, not even Little Blue, who is new to the game.

"This has never happened before," thinks Rainbow Fish.

Then Little Blue gets his chance to be the seeker, and Rainbow Fish is certain he can reclaim his superior position and get revenge on the little novice minnow. But fate is not on his side. Alas, Rainbow Fish is the first one found!

"You didn't count to 20! It's NOT FAIR!" he fusses.

His friends try to point out that it's only a game, but Rainbow Fish swims angrily away.

Red Fin tries to soothe Little Blue and swims off to find Rainbow Fish. She locates him sulking sadly in a seaweed patch.

"You can't always win," she tells him. "Did you see the look in Little Blue's eyes? He's the one who always loses."

Rainbow Fish sees that his friend is right, in Marcus Pfister's You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish (Rainbow Fish (North-South Books)) (North/South, 2018). You win some and you lose some, and  games are no fun unless everyone has a chance to win now and then.  Marcus Pfister's story avoids being overly didactic through the empathetic voice of his new character, Red Fin, and Pfister's illustrations are undeniably lovely, awash in blue-green with glowing touches of bright colors and silvery metallic highlights. This latest is a worthy entry to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of this long-running series about life under the sea.

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