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Reviewed by Gail Kamer for Readers' Favorite
The Grumpy Catfish by Mary Esparza-Vela relates the story of a lonely catfish who is bullied by younger fish. Grumpy lived alone on the bottom of the ocean. All his friends were gone, captured by fisherman. Grumpy had advised them not to grab a hook, but they didn't listen. One day, some younger fish see Grumpy and poke him and pull his whiskers. Grumpy swishes his tail to chase them away and accidentally muddies them. They complain to their father, who commands Grumpy to move away. How will Grumpy win over the younger fish? You'll be surprised. The last illustration is such a great portion of the story.
The Grumpy Catfish by Mary Esparza-Vela contains such vivid, amazing artwork that children will immediately want to read the story. She utilizes the topic of fishing to reel kids into a story about bulling, not having any friends to play with, and the consequences of lying. The reader will connect to personal situations since the story line relates to young children's lives. In addition, the words and sentence structure of the story are written on about a first or second grade level, making it easy for a child to read without much help from adults. The end section contains fun, factual information about catfish and schools of fish. Do you know what noises catfish make? The answer is provided for you. I recommend The Grumpy Catfish for young readers and also for teachers to share in a classroom setting. The theme is timely and very much needed.