Monday, November 29, 2010

Do Witches Make Fishes? Book Review

Do Witches Make Fishes?
By: Jason Mayo; illustrated by Justin Wolfson         
Published by: AuthorHouse    Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4520-6944-9
Price: $12.99
Ages: 4-8
Rating:   4 stars
Reviewed by: Nancy Messmore

Synopsis: There once was a boy who was tired of carrots and fishes.  He went on a hunger strike, holding out for candy and sweets.  His frustrated mother transformed into a kichen witch who offered him a choice: eat dinner or never, ever have the chance to eat any sweet treats again.  His choice was clear.  So with one last wish, he chose his mommy’s carrots and fishes with the option for treats and sweets in the future.

Overall thoughts: Jason Mayo’s rhyming tale of an all-too-familiar mealtime ritual reads aloud wonderfully well.  The rhythm is perfect and his words almost force the reader into using narrative voices and deep drama. Many preschoolers will find themselves drawn into the story that mirrors their own mealtime dramas.  Justin Wolfson’s illustrations capture the story well.  Changes in perspective from page to page encourage children to keep their eyes on the book during the story telling.  Often there were interesting details to discover in the pictures as well.

As I read the book through the first time, I found myself stumbling with the sentence structure.  The irregular pattern to the rhymes makes it difficult to read silently.  While it is remarkably easy to read aloud, I think emerging readers may struggle with the structure if they read to themselves.  Additionally, I thought the ending was abrupt.  I think I wanted the illustration of the happy mother and child reunion to occur after the boy makes his wish.  As for the illustrations, my only complaint is that the duotone fleck pattern on each page was often distracting, especially on the pages with great detail or extreme close ups.

Overall, this is a wonderfully entertaining read aloud book.  I am impressed by this author’s debut picture book.


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