The Littlest Fish is the latest book in Rouss’ “Littlest” series. The littlest fish is simply in search of a friend to play with. But the sea creatures he encounters only see him as food, not a friend. Soon he runs into a giant fish, who asks for his help with a stomachache. The littlest fish swims inside, only to find Jonah, the prophet, in need of help, too. The littlest fish enlists the other sea creatures to help the great fish and they “wiggle and jiggle” until the great fish “spits them out with a thunderous burp.” This silly, rhyming story would appeal only to the very youngest children. Illustrations are watercolors, reminiscent of a brighter, more saturated, cartoon-ish version of the Rainbow Fish; the littlest fish even has rainbow-striped fins. The colors are bright and inviting, making the ocean creatures seem like friends you’d want to have, too. The book tries to relay the concepts of the Jonah story in the simplest way, reinforcing the idea of courage and doing what G‑d asks. The littlest fish enables Jonah to return to Nineveh and the sea creatures to unite while helping others — a good lesson for us all. For ages 2 – 5.
Rachel Rosner is the Director of the Jewish Book Festival in Rochester, NY. She also runs Jewish Family Programs for the JCC, and has worked there since 1994. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Syracuse University.