A Tree for Mr. Fish by Peter Stein

A Tree for Mr. Fish by Peter Stein. Imprint, Macmillan, 2021. 9781250758712

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  A grumpy fish lives in a tree, which he doesn’t want to share with Cat and Bird, until they point out the absurdity of a fish living in a tree. He procures a “rowly bowl” so that he can continue his solitary existence, but soon feels bored and lonely. Maybe a party? But the other fish can’t breathe and abandon the tree, so Fish installs a partial water feature so that aquatic animals can party below while terrestrial creatures can relax above. The flat, cartoonish illustrations have lots of humourous details and reward close viewing. The text for the story is set in an easy-to-read serif font while the animals communicate with each other using pale, yellow talk bubbles. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? I thought the book was a bit lacking in internal logic. Why could Mr. Fish live in a tree while his finny friends could not?

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who appreciate funny stories, especially ones in which the protagonist eventually exhibits flexibility and creative problem solving skills. 

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: September 25, 2021

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