Everything frightened Harry. A true scaredy-cat he was . . .Until one day an unexpected journey led Harry deep into the ocean where being scared was no longer an option for him. He had to be brave, very brave. Risking his own life to save another fish in desperate need of help, his life will change forever in . . . The Fish Who Swan Too Far.
Harry is a young clownfish who is so afraid that he is frightened by
...... the sound of an air bubble, even his own. ................
He never leaves home and has no friends. Harry feels alone, even with four brothers and sisters. His siblings like to taunt and tease, trying to get Harry to leave home and explore the ocean. This makes Harry cry. He tells them all off, saying he is tired of getting picked on and teased,
...…because you don’t understand that I am different! .......................
Harry’s anger motivates him to swim out into the ocean, not paying mind to where he is going. Harry swims right into a fishing hole filled with shiny metal hooks. He turns to leave but stops, when he hears cries of help from a young girl clownfish, whose fin tail is hooked. Harry swims to her, removes the hook, and then swims home, dodging hooks along the way. When he gets home, Harry tells his brothers and sisters about his big adventure, determined that this one would not be his last.
This is a very nice three-scene story. The beginning is an introduction to Harry and his taunting siblings. The middle or actual story has Harry finally leaving home, swimming too far, hearing cries of help, and bravely turning around to rescue the hooked blue clownfish. The ending has Harry telling his siblings about his adventures.
The author stayed on tract. She did the needed scenes and did not let anything distract her. The story is a fast read and Harry is a character you can care about. The rescued girl did not tell Harry her name, which does not matter, though it would have been a cute little scene and Harry could brag he finally made a friend.
Harry yelled at his siblings that he was different. This seems an important piece of information about Harry. It is important enough to Harry that he yells it to his brothers and sisters.
.........................“That’s it!” Harry said. .................“I am tired of you all picking on me .......because you don’t understand that I am different! ........Well, I won’t take it anymore!” Harry shouted . . . ...................
Harry is different than at least his siblings, if not all fish, so how could this be forgotten?. It causes him to run away. This difference is the reason we cheer him on, but we are not privy to the most important part of Harry. This is a major piece of information missing.
I like the story but think maybe Harry should have been a seahorse, a crab, or even a cat if the story did not need to be set in the ocean. While there are major differences between Harry and Nemo, the first thought I had when seeing the cover was Nemo. Kids are probably going to do the same thing. Perhaps Harry’s name could have been part of the title, or he could have switched colors with a sibling.
The illustrations are good. They remind me of cartoon characters, so kids should like them as well. Harry is a character you can side with when his siblings gang up on him and start their teasing, something that it seems they have done many times before. I want to know why we are rooting for Harry and what is different about him that maybe the reader could identify with.
It is nice he could brag about his adventure to his siblings, maybe finally shutting them up, but the story ends right there. Maybe this changed nothing and they keep teasing him. Maybe, after Harry came down from the adrenaline rush he was on, he realized the dangers he put himself into and refuses to leave home ever again. The story ended a little too soon. The point is, there is no payoff for the reader. Why did we root for this little guy? Did the character change by the end of the story?
The Fish Who Swam Too Far is nice story that ends too soon. Kids will like the vibrant illustrations, that will feel familiar. Being a short story, this is a good choice for a bedtime read, especially if your child likes fish. Maybe there will be a sequel and Harry will finally reveal what he meant when he yelled
………………you don’t understand that I am different!
This is author Danielle Kirrane’s first children’s book. I think she did rather well. She understands that the main character needs to change by stories end and made sure Harry solved his own dilema, rather than having a bigger fish swim by and stop to rescue the hooked clownfish. Harry gets to be the hero. With a larger story and more room to flesh out the characters, I think Ms. Kirrane will have a fine writing career.
Author: Danielle Kirrane website Illustrator: Caleb Irwin Publisher: Tate Publishing Children’s Division Release Date: 2011 ISBN: 978-1-61777-937-4 Number of Pages: 20 Ages: 6+