The Odd Fish / How to Spot a Dinosaur

Introducing two recent Farshore picture books – thanks to the publishers for sending them for review.

The Odd Fish
Naomi Jones and James Jones

The inspiration for this eco-tale came from the author and illustrator’s then two year old son watching Blue Planet 11 and being unable to differentiate between the real fish and the plastic floating in the ocean. Equally unable to do so is the helpful Little Fish out swimming with her family who comes upon Odd Fish bob, bobbing along alone and assumes that he’s become separated from his family and must be lonely. She suggests she and her shoal help find them and while searching they come upon a seashorse who says that if they follow the current they will find others like Odd Fish. They swim on and come upon and untangle Octopus caught up in a fishing net, have a narrow escape, come to the aid of a turtle endeavouring to eat a plastic bag

and finally there in front of Little Fish is a whole school of odd fish of various shapes, sizes and colours: ‘There’s too many odd fish to count! Where did they all come from?’

The placing of text and images ensures this gentle story flows along beautifully and it’s impossible to avoid the fact that sadly we humans have to take responsibility for what Little Fish encounters – a huge mass of plastic that is a constant danger to the creatures of our oceans. Naomi reminds readers of this on a final spread stating that around 12,000,000 tonnes of plastic finds its way into the ocean every year and asks everyone at home and in school to help reduce this terrible, potentially deadly, pollution.

How to Spot a Dinosaur
Suzy Senior and Dan Taylor

In Suzy Senior’s bouncy rhyming tale of dinosaur hunting in the park we join two dino-enthusiasts, a sister, and her brother who acts as narrator,. Armed with a book of dino-facts and binoculars, the siblings are sure they’re going to find a fair few of these stomping, roarsome creatures. However after several incidences of mistaken identity,

their enthusiasm turns to disappointment and despair; but then the snack man suggests another location to try. Off they go again until they reach a huge building and lo and behold …

Suddenly a fearsome “ROAAAARRRR!” sends them fleeing for their lives, so they think, but perhaps this too is a case of mistaken identity that can only be relieved by slices of cake and cold drinks. Perhaps then the siblings could be persuaded to take another look inside that large building they dashed from.
After an exciting day it’s time to head for home, safe in the knowledge that there’s no need to bother looking out for dinosaurs as they died out long, long ago …

There’s a gentle nod to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt in this lively quest for prehistoric reptiles that continue to be many young children’s favourite storybook creatures. Such dino-fans will definitely love the various misidentifications shown in Dan Taylor’s humorous scenes of the determined dinosaur seekers.

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