Inspired by two separate Jewish tales, author Jacqueline Jules has written a timely story about greed and generosity. Generosity is embodied by a young boy named Reuven. Every morning he shares his breakfast with a small golden fish he spots in the shallows of his coastal village. Predictably the fish grows, but less predictably, its scales are truly golden — and that’s where greed enters the story. The villagers realize their fortune is made and they demand scales from the fish’s body. At first, there’s plenty to share, so the boy and the fish give and give — but before long, the fish is weak, ill, and almost scaleless. It’s crucial for the town to work together — not to take, but to give and nurture.
The book delivers its messages — the duty to care for one another and for the environment— with gentleness and without judgement. Lovely illustrations echo the golden sparkle of the fish and the magical spell that nature casts throughout this story.
Leslie Kimmelman grew up outside Philadelphia and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street College of Education; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies; and Sydney Taylor Notable Books. Kimmelman is an editor at Sesame Workshop and lives with her family just north of New York City.