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Sunday, 15 January 2017

One Lonely Fish

Concept and Design: Andy Mansfield
Illustrations: Thomas Flintham
Publisher: Templar Publishing, 2016

The full title of this book is: One Lonely Fish: A counting book with bite. It's one of my current favourite books for toddlers, and works especially well for those approaching or a few months following the age of 1, with a very straightforward concept (count-the-fish) and pages that can be easily turned by small hands.  

Counting gradually up from 1-10, on each page the landscape length on the book gains a new colourful fish, with its jaws wide open, enough to swallow up the fish ahead. This forms a neat queue (or chasing line) of fish until one giant fish eats the lot (broad smile on his face). Snap! The end. 

Following on from reading (though it feels more like playing with this book, rather than reading it), we've used the book to discuss why fish number ten might be lonely, and with older children, you might even get a chat about the food chain out of this this title. 
In terms of age range though, this is an exceptionally toddler-friendly book, as the pages are easy to turn with inverted triangle card cut-aways on each page for added 'turn-ability', and the pages are made of tough thick cardboard. It's a big robust book (a bit too big for standard bookshelves actually, so do think about finding accommodation for it elsewhere in a nursery bedroom). The fish illustrations are bright, predominately in primary colours, and the big jaws perspective on the final fish is playful. My three year old loves 'reading' this to her younger brother, and spotting the red crab on each page too. There's extra fun to be had if children dare put their own hand in the fish's mouth, and it bites shut. Lots of squeals of delight in my house from this book in that biting-hand off respect. 

One Lonely Fish feels a little like a hybrid between to Rob Campbell's 1996 Fishy Things and Rod Campbell's 2005 Touch and Feel I won't Bite. If you like both these titles you'll love One Lonely Fish too. 

And if you enjoy counting books with toddlers I also recommend this video of the band Feist singing 'counting to 4' on Sesame Street, uploaded to YouTube in 2008. My children love this rendition, but be warned, it's very catchy: Feist: Counting to Four video

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