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A Fish Out Of Water    by Helen Palmer order for
Fish Out Of Water
by Helen Palmer
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 1961 (1961)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A little boy buys a goldfish from Mr. Carp, and calls it Otto. As he leaves the store he is warned 'When you feed a fish, never feed him a lot ... or something may happen! You never know what!' Does he listen? Of course not! Like all young pet owners, he knows that his fish wants more; 'He just HAD to have more!'

There are hilarious consequences to this over-feeding of one little goldfish, as we watch it 'grow and grow' out of its small fish bowl, a vase, a series of pots, a bath tub, the cellar, and a swimming pool. Adults get dragged in too - a policeman, firemen, and finally an unsurprised ('I always say 'don't' but you boys always do') Mr. Carp. The verse and pictures are quite ordinary but the story grows into something extraordinary that engages small children, as that little fish grows into a BIG problem that preoccupies an entire neighborhood.

Of course there is a lesson about pet care at the core of this tale ... 'Now I feed Otto so much and no more. Never more than a spot or something may happen. And now I know what!' A Fish Out of Water was a popular pick in my home for repeated bedtime reads.

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