Tag Archives: Harry Allard

Picture Book Spotlight: Fish and Not Fish

Fish and Not Fish by Theodore Clymer
Published: Scholastic, 1982
Pages: 64
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We’re back with another book by Theodore Clymer, the follow-up to Little Dog Laughed for Level 3. The third reader level is a thicker book, once again alternating photographs with illustrations. The location shots in this volume are credited to Ocean World, a private aquarium in Crescent City, California that was originally a Seattle barge (no, really). The aquarium and entertainment complex is still in operation and has just made my list of quirky road stops to visit.

Thanks, Ocean World!

There are a series of illustrators listed, but the featured story is a version of “The Hen and the Bread” by James Marshall. Marshall was the illustrator for one of my favorite books, Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, in case the style looks familiar. Marshall spent most of his childhood in my hometown, Beaumont, Texas, and once said,

“Beaumont is deep south and swampy and I hated it. I knew I would die if I stayed there so I diligently studied the viola, and eventually won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory in Boston.”

I also recall worrying I’d die there, so we’re basically twinsies.

Master of the side-eye.

Since this is a Clymer book, we’re also reintroduced to Ken, the boy who can’t do anything right. When first we see him, Ken can’t figure out if he should eat bait or not.

Don’t eat bait, Ken.

Here he is failing to feed a dolphin:

Point and laugh, kids. That’s why he’s here.

Twisting himself into a loom:

He BEGGED for the chance to screw this up…

And picking up a bowl of flour and shoving it in his helpless face:

Dammit, Ken.

Fish and Not Fish picks up where the last book left off and adds punctuation, dialog tags and a few new vocabulary words. The baking story was especially helpful during the last half of my daughter’s Kindergarten year when we were learning the rule “E makes the vowel say it’s name.” Highly recommended for beginning readers.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter