The book that I chose to review was one that I remembered being my sisters’ favorite. I read it to her a million times; the book is called The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. This short picture book is about a fished that had all of these amazing scales that were shiny and everyone wanted to play with Rainbow Fish and his awesome colors. But the Rainbow fish was stuck up and didn’t pay the other fish any mind especially when they asked if they could get a scale from him. The story goes on and he realizes his scales don’t mean anything if everyone is ignoring him so he learns how to share and gives all his shiny scales away, realizing how happy sharing with his fellow fish has made him. I believe that his book embraces more modern themes that those of the enlightenment. Locke says that “They are wholly, if possible, to be kept from such conversation; for the contagion of these ill precedents, both in civility and virtue, horribly infects children, as often as they come within reach of it.” Showing how he believes that children should almost be alienated from people so that their minds aren’t flooded with bad ideas or ill intentions. This book goes against this and the ideas of the enlightenment, it has modern themes that are shown through the rainbow fish going out on his own and realizing through interaction that being the selfish stuck-up fish he is would never make him happy.
I like how this book was written because and I believe it really does teach kids a good lesson. It shows them how even the most well off fish (or person) should be humble and realize that others don’t have what they do. It teaches them that if your selfish and snobby no one will want to be around you and you will end up all alone. But once you realize that sharing not only makes others happy but it does the same internally you are able to see what is truly meaningful.
Blake’s’ poem “Introduction” relates directly to this story through the theme that giving to other can in turn make oneself happy.
And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.
Through these lines you can see how writing these songs for all of the children is what Blake is doing to try and bring them happiness. In return you can see that he is joyful in sharing these songs with the kids and loves to make them happy. Just like the rainbow fish realizes after giving away one scale, he feels this emotion of happiness after giving it away and then eventually gives them all away because of how good it makes him feel. This goes hand in hand with Blake; after his song makes one kid happy he realizes that he should bring this joy to all the children through his songs.
This story is very relatable to certain parts of the poems written by Blake, but it in some ways contrasts to the enlightenment ideas of Locke and Strasburger.