Title: “The Rainbow Fish”
Author: Marcus Pfister
Genre: Children’s Literature
You never grow up in the eyes of your favorite children’s book character. Curious George and The Very Hungry Caterpillar still see the little kid that was full of uncontrollable laughter and loved to run around the yard chasing butterflies.
They don’t know about the “real world” with dress codes and expectations, and why should they? Their job, as story book characters, is to bring you into a new world that has exciting adventures in store and problems that need solving.
The absolute best part about their job is that everyone is fair game. Anyone reading their story, no matter what age, can be affected by their charm and imagination-probing ideas. That means that as a reader, we can continue to love and learn from our favorite children’s books long after chasing butterflies is socially acceptable.
This book, “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister, is a well-known children’s story. A fish with very beautiful, shiny scales is only truly happy when he shares his scales with his friends. The themes of friendship and happiness are used throughout it to teach a lesson.
From a child’s perspective, this is a story is simple: sharing means caring. We are taught from a very young age to share what we have with others. The early years of school are also centered around making relationships with others and creating friendships.
From an adult’s perspective, the meaning of this story is less black and white. When we think of sharing, the idea is colored by different experiences we’ve had. Sometimes, they are as simple as working on a project with another person or splitting a bill at a restaurant. These add detail and meaning and come to our minds as facts.
At other times, our experiences add more than just information to a word; they change how we understand it. Take the word sharing as an example.
A parent shares their world with their children and their lives are irrevocably changed once they give all they have to raising them.
An employee shares a future goal and direction with their company. They work each and every day to meet objectives and do their part.
A United States Citizen shares a sense of pride for their country with their nation. A feeling of belonging is experienced by each member.
These experiences shape how we think of the word sharing and what images come to mind when we hear the word in a children’s book. This concept also holds true for other words. Our experiences are what make us individuals.
I chose to read “The Rainbow Fish” because even after 15 years it still makes me smile. Even more so, I continue to take meaning away from the story and this meaning changes as I grow and evolve as a person. Hopefully you experience a similar feeling the next time you pick up Pfister’s story or any of your other favorite children’s books.