Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Do You Speak Fish? by DJ Corchin and illustrated by Dan Dougherty

Do You Speak Fish? by DJ Corchin and illustrated by Dan Dougherty

Published December 2021 Sourcebooks eXplore


When a child meets a fish and says hello, the fish does not respond. The child is shocked. What a rude fish! But soon the child learns that it's not up to the fish to speak the child's language. And if the child wants to communicate, he'll have to take the time to learn how to speak Fish.

This book reminds me of a novel Fish In a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt, and the quote in it about how we treat/judge people: "Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid."

As an English speaker, I must admit that no matter where we go in the world, we’re pretty fortunate in that so many other nations speak English as their second language, so in that regard we are quite spoilt.  What if that wasn’t the case, and what must it be like for people who come to English speaking countries, and find it difficult to understand and be understood.

That’s a big thing to think about, so a book like Do You Speak Fish is great because it tells the story from a completely different perspective, one where animals can talk, but one in which we can think about our own actions, values and behaviours. 

The boy on the story gets quite frustrated when the animals don’t understand him, because he doesn’t speak, fish/lion/bee etc.  Shouldn’t all creatures speak ‘kid’?  It’s not until the wise tree makes him think about it, does he realise that maybe he should make the effort to learn fish/lion/bee and then in turn they might learn yours, and even just learning a little bit and being that bit more thoughtful can make a massive difference and make others feel more welcome and included.

A great book to start a conversation in the classroom.

Thanks to Net Galley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to review this title.

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