Authored and Illustrated by Chris Gall
The following review was contributed by: Lily Azerad-Goldman: CLICK TO VIEW Lily Azerad-Goldman's Reviews
Award winner Chris Gall has written and illustrated Dear Fish, a fun and quirky tale.
Peter Allan is at the beach with his family and loves to explore the creatures in the tide pools. He extends an invitation to them by placing a note in a bottle and guess what- they actually come to visit! One after another, the stinky creatures crawl out of the sea into Peter Allan’s bathroom, into his friend’s Sally house, at the ball -park and even at the rodeo. The tree house, which his dad is constructing, does not escape the invasion, his mom’s head is crowned with an octopus at the beauty parlor and his school is invaded by a “school” of fish. Ultimately, Peter Allan has to thank the smelly lot for coming to “visit” the dry land and encourages all the creatures to return to the sea.
In a funny reversal of fortune, on their next visit to the beach, Peter Allan finds an invitation in a shell from the creatures addressed to him and his family, to come and visit them in the sea. Are they going to plunge into the sea? And how will they accomplish this feat?
The illustrations keep pace, memorably translating the adventurous text into contours, stimulating colors and haunting landscapes. Chris Gall’s style is reminiscent of Fernand Leger’s cubist “modern” robot like forms painted in color and emphasized in black lines. The subjects pulse with the dynamism of everyday life. His art translates into forceful juxtapositions of shape, color and line. Chris Gall masterly merges the cubist stasis with undulating volume.
The only criticism would be that his colors are a trifle dark for my taste. As an added plus, the inside flaps of the book contain many fish species that children will recognize and appreciate. No doubt, readers who frequent tidal pools at the beach will be “hooked” to this funny and quirky fish tale.