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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
A Fish in a Tree is a work of fiction for young readers by Deborah C. Washington. Have you ever seen a fish in a tree? I haven’t either, but that’s not to say it’s impossible. Or is it? A pair of birds notice it first: a fish-shaped balloon that someone has let loose. Now it’s caught in their tree, which isn’t safe for the birds, especially with its dangling string. So the birds and the wind set it free and it blows away, which also isn’t good, as it lands in the sea and is washed up on a beach where fish and other sea life are threatened. You see, balloons and their adornments can be hazardous to all kinds of living creatures. A little boy walking the beach with his mother sees the fish-shaped balloon, now deflated. He knows what to do: reuse, recycle or renew. Which of the three do you think he will choose?
Deborah C. Washington’s picture book story, A Fish in a Tree, is a sweet, charming story intended to teach and encourage young readers to be mindful of their environment. Told in rhyming verse, this lyrical story follows a journey led by the discarded fish-shaped balloon as it threatens one ecosystem after another until the climax is reached when the little boy finds it on the beach. The colorful illustrations are spectacular and certainly help move the story along. The language is simple, structured with four lines in a row that end the same rhyming vowels, like “see, me, he, flee,” and some more complicated rhymers, like “around, found, down, ground.” This will encourage young readers to look for and recognize similar sounding words. Their reading skills will improve alongside the important message this story shares about being resourceful and creative in ways to reuse, recycle and renew. Loved it!