By: Geoff Swinney
Illustrated by: Janeen Mason
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 6, 2011
First, a confession…I am a fish enthusiast. In fact, I’ve had "pet" fish all my life and at one point, had over 50 fish tanks, raised and even showed (yes, I took my little fishies to fish shows) Betta splendens (most people know them as “Siamese Fighting Fish”). I even won some trophies with my home-raised fish. So I am a fish geek, which is why I was so happy to receive a review copy of Fish Facts.
Fish Facts is a bright and colorful book that is absolutely teeming with facts about both fresh and salt-water fish. It's a veritable smorgasbord of information on everything and anything “fishy” and is a real treat for the young fish enthusiast. The author, a research curator of lower vertebrates and mollusca for the National Museums of Scotland, obviously has a deep love for the creatures of the sea and presents page after page of facts in an interesting and engaging way.
The young reader will first read a brief overview of the various types of fish, from the tiny, tiny, less than 10mm, Goby to the enormous 59 foot whale shark (accompanied by drawings of the Goby on the tip of a human finger and the whale shark swimming next to a diver to help the young reader visualize the difference). Next up are various fish topics - the role of fins, food for fish, male or female - and a page or two of information on each subject.
Fish Facts answers such questions as what is a fish, what is not a fish (is a dolphin a fish? what about an octopus?), to reproduction and if some fish really fly. The book also addresses some topics many people have likely pondered such as do fish drink and how deep down in the sea do fish go? At the back of the book are two pages where all these questions are listed, in alphabetical order, along with the corresponding page number where the answer is given.
Toward the back of the book are several pages that break down the classifications of fish and what is unique about each one. With its abundance of information and kid-friendly presentation, this book is perfect for the student working on a fish-related research project. Finally, no review of Fish Facts would be complete without mention of the wonderful illustrations. The drawings are vibrant and accurate and truly add a measure of delight that draws the eye to each and every page.
Quill says: The young ichthyologist will be in fish heaven with this fabulous book that answers everything and anything "fish." Great job!