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Fish school

Fish Tricks: The Wild and Wacky World of Fish

Haude Levesque
MoonDance Press
80 pp.
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Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Fish were the first vertebrates to evolve, more than 500 million years ago, and with over 30,000 species, they remain one of the subphylum’s most diverse groups. Haude Levesque’s colorful book takes young readers on a journey through the many wonderful adaptations possessed by these underwater creatures, providing the basics of fish biology and clearing up some misconceptions that are common among children (for example, whales are not fish!). Classifying each set of adaptations as “tricks,” she then gives intriguing examples of their physiology, morphology, reproduction, and behavior. We learn, for example, that some fish brood their young in their mouths, while others produce a nutritious mucus so the young can feed of their skin. Each description is brief and easily accessible, accompanied by fun and captivating illustrations.

The logic behind which tricks were chosen for the book is not clear; on one page, she discusses color change and on the next, tool use. It seems likely that these are the features that most intrigued Levesque herself. Given the target audience (between about 8 and 11 years old) and playful approach of the book, this seems entirely appropriate. In providing readers with her own favorite stories, she opens up the fascinating world of the fishes to a new generation.