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Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Fish Named Glub, written by Dan Bar-El and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon. Kids Can Press, 2014. $16.95 ages 5 and up

"I've been working this diner my whole life," whispered Foster, a reef knot in his throat. "But I wanted to be a sailor when I was a kid. Did you know that, fish? That was my dream, to sail the seven seas." Glub shakes his head. this was news to him. "You and me, fish, we're kind of alike..."

Glub is a small fish. His life could be banal...swimming around in a glass bowl all day. In fact, it is not. The fish bowl finds its home on a diner counter. Glub's view of the world is philosophical and full of questions: "What do I need?" "What is a home?" "Where do I belong?"

Glub finds the answers to his many questions through careful study of his surroundings and the conversation of the people who make the diner a stopping place in their lives:

"Glub in bowl, all alone, but understanding home. Well-fed,
not dead and and still not quite in bed.
"Hey, fish," says Foster with a tired voice. "Can't sleep either?"
"I am Glub." Glub smiles.
Shake, shake, shake. Food falls from the sky."

As days pass, and customers share their days with Foster and Glub in the welcoming atmosphere of the diner, Glub develops a very special talent for bubbles and hopeful dreams. He helps to awaken his friends to life's possibilities if only they are open to pursuing them. In the end, it works for Glub himself. Charming for the adults that will share this story, and satisfying for all those who listen.

Dan Bar-el's text is poetic and thoughtful. Using mixed media to create her offbeat characters, and gentle humor to show the daily 'doings' at the diner, Josee Bisaillon keeps the story moving forward with a joyful spirit in the face of such important life questions.

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