Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fish Head

I was at the Satellite Cafe late this morning with V. and saw a book with this interesting graphic on the cover:
Intrigued, I read it. It's a vintage children's book called Fish Head by Jean Fritz. I am apparently not the only blogger to discover this book, but nevertheless, here I go.
It's really the quality of the illustrations that make this book.True, it's cute story about a wild cat that causes trouble - a kind of feline bildungsroman - but look at these!
Here is Fish Head chasing Grandfather Rat, causing quite a ruckus. I was actually beginning to worry a bit when reading this bit that Fish Head was going to end up a victim, himself. He seemed completely immune to the idea that he might be annoying or destructive. He is a cat completely without conscience.
Fish Head on the fishing boat he subsequently became marooned upon. Flying fish flop onto the deck in the morning, and he catches them and eats them - hence the cover art.
Here Fish Head is getting back at the sailors for laughing at his lack of sea legs. (Don't worry - the cat is soon humbled himself by two days of sea sickness. Did I feel sorry for him? Um... no.)
In the end, after traveling to many islands with the fisherman, Fish Head finally arrives back at his own island and finally goes ashore. There he discovers that the land doesn't feel right because he has sea legs now, and that life ashore is dull. The fishermen shout for him because they are leaving and he goes trotting back to them, happy to return to sea.
The moral of the tale? I guess there's a place for everybody where they can learn to not be such a selfish jerk. For this cat, it was a boat at sea.

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