HEY! A COLORFUL MYSTERY

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A little pink fish wants to find a playmate. “HEY!” yells the fish into the deep, dark waters. Unfortunately, a striped yellow fish hears only the booming sound. “EEK! There’s something scary in there!” Fish after fish repeats the warning, bubbling in excitement and exaggerating each time. “There’s something enormous in there!” becomes “There are hundreds of them!” Nervousness shimmers through the water. Read takes this opportunity to add in a bit of color recognition and alliteration: “Really rattled,” the red octopus “petrified” three purple puffer fish, which “startle the blue shoal,” which “terrif[ies] the green turtle,” and so on (alas, the “orange crabs” look more red than orange). There is pandemonium under the sea. “The whole ocean floor shook into a fizzing, frothing frenzy, fleeing to… / …the safety of a deep dark cave.” But is it really a cave? Read pushes the oceanic animals to the brink of disaster, very close to one terrifyingly large chomp, but luckily, the little pink fish is there to save the day. Bright, energetic art, with schools of colorful fish, creates a brilliantly colored undersea menagerie. The fishy dialogue is conveyed in literal speech bubbles and is frequently laugh-out-loud witty: “Crawl for your lives!” cries a snail. A spread on color theory concludes the book.

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