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Review of The Little Black Fish

Katie Wilkins

The Little Black Fish – reviewed by Caroline Ewans, The Wimbledon Story Pot

The Little Black Fish

The Little Black Fish was written by Samad Behrangi, an influential Iranian author and teacher. It is translated from Persian by Azita Rassi. It is a story about a brave little fish who goes against the advice of his mother and the other "moany old fishes" and decides to find out whether there is a wider world beyond his stream. He encounters other creatures along the way, who give him good advice about the dangers he will encounter. 

His story is told by an old fish to her 12,000 grandchildren, to warn them of the dangers and sadnesses of life without risking it themselves - but not entirely successfully. The Little Black Fish is a great character who enjoys his adventures and meets danger resourcefully and inventively (although some younger children might find it slightly scary in parts). 

The illustrations by Farshid Mesghali are very original - they resemble linocuts and are bold and colourful, very effective even with a limited palette.

The Little Black Fish

The book can be read as a straightforward story of an adventurous fish who wants to find out about the world for himself, defies his elders and betters and encounters wonders and dangers along the way. Or it can be seen, as it was apparently written, as an allegory about daring to be different politically in a closed society – in fact it was banned in pre-revolutionary Iran. In either case it is an interesting and thought-provoking story, enhanced by the striking illustrations.

You can buy the book here.

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