Friday, May 19, 2006

Oddaptation: The Rainbow Fish

For those of you reading your first Oddaptation, you might be wondering just what you've stumbled into. Basically, I've decided to do Cliff Notes versions of classic and/or huge-selling picture books... and I combine synopsis and analysis in one short, rhyming package. Oh, yeah, there's some attitude thrown in, too.

As you'll see if you read the other Oddaptations linked on the right hand side of the blog, I'm still debating what, exactly, makes one of these "perfect." Just like in writing a picture book manuscript, there's a balance needed between images, plot, and "moral," for lack of a better term. I can safely say, however, the balance is very different when one Oddapts.

As always, feel free to suggest a title for an Oddaptation. Who knows? One morning you may wake up to find your favorite title here... and you may never look at it (or me) the same way again. Who can pass up a possibility like that?


THE RAINBOW FISH
by Marcus Pfister
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Its scales shine and shimmer – a rainbow in motion.
There’s no fish quite like it no matter what ocean.
But sadly that fish was quite lonely and blue:
“It’s just ‘cause I’m special, but what can I do?”
It could have looked inward or tried acting nice…
Instead it went swimming then followed advice.
It gave out its scales to fish sisters and brothers
So all fish were equal (and none more than others).
Thus Rainbow Fish learned, as new “friends” came a-swarming,
Don’t try to be special; Find joy in conforming!

17 comments:

MotherReader said...

Love it! Love. IT.

I guess we are supposed to come away from this book with the messages of "don't be vain" and "share with others." But I like your conformity take on it, maybe that is the underlying message that been giving me the willies all these years.

fusenumber8 said...

Oh beautiful.
Oh wonderful.
Sweet horrible, "Rainbow Fish", your time is nigh.

Kelly said...

Very funny, Gregory! That's my reading of the stupid book too. Why shouldn't the Rainbow Fish be beautiful? He just shouldn't brag about it, that's all. Why does have to dumb himself down.

Actually, why I am going on about this? My complaints are self-evident :)

Leila said...

You rule, Gregory.

Stupid Rainbow Fish, teaching stupid conformity.

OtterB said...

I hated this book, too.

So Rainbow Fish learned, to have friends who are true
Whenever they ask, give up pieces of you

Kelly said...

I must say, I always thought the moral of The Rainbow Fish was "you can buy friendship after all". Thanks for the Oddaptation.

Gregory K. said...

Well, Kelly, I did have another version that included references to bribery/buying your friends. But just as the book gets muddled by having multiple and questionable "morals," so too did the Oddaptation. So I peeled back and stuck with the one that I deemed "worst."

hyperjoy7 said...

ha! I love you. :)

natalie_eve said...

I just came across this book for the first time today. Your oddaptation summed it up perfectly.

Cat said...

Oh yes, all that others have said, AND the illustrations are CHEEZY!!!! BLAH!

I'm finding these oddaptations quite cathartic. It's like the children's lit person's scab picking or something. Hurts, but is so very fascinating and relieving you must do more!

Think you could do some poetry on the topic of "yes, that's a great open-minded message, but next time find an illustrator who isn't crap"? I'm thinking of _Daddy's Roommate_, etc. Or the corollary to those - books by North-South Press that have life-changing illustrations with too-long stories. [/pet peeve]

Anonymous said...

Poor Rainbow Fish, forced to sell his body to buy his friends.

LT Broccoli said...

What ever happened to individualism? Are none to be praised origional thoughts and uncommon uniqueness? Marcus Pfister should be ashamed of himself for discouraging young children from being themselves!

Jillian said...

I love this. (I know I'm late but I just found this.)

I absolutely gagged on THE RAINBOW FISH. Finally I have found likeminded others.

Bravo!

Sheenu said...

You can interpret it in different ways too: it teaches children not to be materialistic. Other messages - "Spread the love", "Sharing". For example, I taught my younger one about sharing from the Rainbow fish. He watched Rainbow fish a gazillion times and I don't think he really got the negative messages we are talking about in this forum. I believe kids think simple and you should interpret the book in the same way. Such books can't leave any "permanent marks" or scars on the childs mind. Children love it. If your child is not learning anything bad from the book and he loves it, why stop him or her. Children learn using things they love - sometimes it cars, sometimes its fishes, trucks, ducks etc. I hope you can see some difference and my review is helpful.

I put something of a positive review on this book at:

http://babylegs.blogspot.com/2008/01/what-is-it-about-rainbow-fish.html

Please check it out.

Thanks and I do find all this discussion about childrens books useful!

Anonymous said...

" Children love it. If your child is not learning anything bad from the book and he loves it, why stop him or her."
BECAUSE I DON'T WANT MY CHILD TO THINK SOCIALISM IS O.K. I DON'T WANT MY LITTLE BLUE CHILD TO THINK HE'S A BETTER FISH IF HE ADORNS HIMSELF WITH SOMEONE ELSES PRETTY SCALES. JUST WAIT TILL THE FIRST GRADE EDITION COMES OUT... THE RAINBOW FISH WILL BE TOLD TO SELL THE SCALES AND DONATE ALL OF THE MONEY TO CHARITY...

Hannah Ruth Wilde said...

Bravo! I have always been creeped out by Goodnight Moon. Rainbow Fish - self evident - and poor Grinch, but we love him so, and for the grand finale, if one must get stuck in Seuss cadence, it couldn't have been done better than with your Cat in the Hat, Bravo once again. Have you tried any of these on the kids? What say them?

Keely said...

Love this oddaptation, I always felt 'buying' friends with your own body parts was a sad sick message!!!