Review of The Fish of Small Wishes, written by Elana K. Arnold, illustrated by Magdalena Mora

The Fish of Small Wishes

written by Elana K. Arnold
illustrated by Magdalena Mora

Roaring Brook Press, 2024. 36 pages.
Review written March 25, 2024, from a library book.
Starred Review

This lovely picture book tells a modern version of an old fairy tale that’s child-centered and satisfying.

As the book opens, Kiki Karpovich notices that all the other kids in her neighborhood are playing together, and she’s pretending not to mind. Then she sees a large goldfish floundering on the sidewalk. The fish moves its dry lips, asking for help, so Kiki springs into action.

She picks up the fish, rushes up the stairs into her home, puts the fish in the bathtub, and fills the tub with water.

Then the fish thanks her! With quiet watery, bubbly words.

The fish says he can grant her a wish to thank her, but when she wishes for lots of friends, he sadly reveals that he is a fish of small wishes. Her wish is too big, and she’ll have to think of something smaller.

Kiki thinks of two more wishes, always with the same answer. By that time, the fish is outgrowing the tub. Kiki gets to work trying to dig a pond for the fish in the courtyard. When the task is too big, she has the courage – for the fish’s sake – to ask for help. The whole neighborhood comes together to make a new fishpond.

And Kiki’s wishes are granted!

It’s just lovely the way Kiki’s helpful kindness is it’s own reward. Lots to talk about here, a satisfying story arc, and bright, colorful pictures all make this picture book a great big win. It’s targeted to young elementary kids, but the language is simple enough for preschoolers to enjoy it just as much.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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