274. Zebrafish by Sharon Emerson

Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision present Zebrafish by Sharon Emerson. Drawn by Renee Kurilla (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 120
Ages: 9+
Finished: Dec. 6, 2010
First Published: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Atheneum
Genre: children, realistic fiction, cancer, activism
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

Hey, Allie. Where's Plinko?

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This is a nice book. The artwork is well done. The colours bright, the kids different shapes, colours, styles and income brackets and yet they all get along fine. One girl, Tanya, has leukemia, though she doesn't tell anyone for most of the book. This girl is also very much into volunteering and causes, save the pandas, that sort of thing. The other girl, Vita, wants to start a rock band because she can play guitar and sing. The boys join the band, Tanya starts writing activist songs for her pandas and eventually everybody makes an impression and feels good about themselves that they've accomplished something. The money from their first show went to the hospital to buy a piece of machinery that will help with cancer research.

The book is simple to read; there are pages with no text or only small amounts and the text and illustrations really do go hand in hand to tell the story here. A perfect example of the graphic format telling a complete story with character development and minor backgrounds. I'm not really pumped about this book, though. I know it has received good reviews but for me, it just didn't do anything. I didn't connect. I'd already started to forget the story as I sat to write this review the next day and had to flip through the book and read the flap to refresh my memory. I don't have any specific complaints; I don't regret the half hour spent reading it but it's just not a book that will stay with me or that I'd put on any recommended lists. Some books are just OK and this is one of them, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with that.


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