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The Rainbow Fish

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  76,305 ratings  ·  1,119 reviews
The Rainbow Fish is an international bestseller and a modern classic. Eye-catching foilstamping, glittering on every page, offers instant child-appeal, but it is the universal message at the heart of this simple story about a beautiful fish, who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions, that gives the book its lasting value.
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published 1992 by North-South Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy
Mar 30, 2012 Kat Kennedy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: My infant son's enemies/rivals
I'm always on the look-out for new, well-written children's books for my son. We had been reading him: Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! and Why Mommy is a Democrat.

He loved the story and drawings!

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However, he didn't seem to take to them as much as I thought he would...so I decided to find something else as informative, well-balanced and fun to read with my child.

Then I came across The Rainbow Fish by Macrus Pfister.

The Rainbow Fish is a story about a spectacular fish with amazing sca
...more
Laila
Ahem. Nice little book that teaches sharing, or subtle liberal socialist propaganda which teaches to give away all and anything special about yourself or what you have for the betterment of the whole?

You might think I'm being ridiculous, but I was a bit alarmed at this children's book when a professor in a teaching class read it to us aloud. Basically, Rainbow Fish is special because, unlike the other fish, he is special and has many colors of the rainbow on his fins. The other fish grow jealous
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babyhippoface
I'm all into sharing and stuff, but this little guy was basically told that he had to give away everything that made him special just so other fish wouldn't be jealous and mean. Is this fair? Heck no!

Reminds me of one of my favorite lines from The Incredibles, when Dash says something along the lines of, "If everybody's special, then NOBODY is."
Janni
Apr 18, 2009 Janni added it
A chilling tale about a young fish who learns that no one will ever like him--until he gives up the thing that makes him unique and becomes just like everyone else.

Of a genre with The Giving Tree and the stalker classic Love You Forever.
Rebecca
I also thought the message in this book was not good for children. We have to give things to people so they will like us? What? Sure, this book is trying to teach about friendship and giving of oneself, but where in the book do the other fish stop being selfish and jealous? Those are not qualities that should be rewarded, and the poor rainbow fish has to give away all of his lovely scales to jealous, hateful fish. Just awful. I think it would be a lot different if the other fish were in "need" o ...more
Leigh  Porch
Apr 29, 2008 Leigh Porch rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: guidance counselors.
Recommended to Leigh by: Hand me down
I'm fairly hard pressed to truly dislike a children's book, but the message of this story is awful. This beautiful and unique fish meets some horribly jealous fish who won't befriend him. In order to be accepted, the rainbow fish must give up all of his scales to bribe the other fish to be his friends. What kind of message does this send to a child? I could see a child, having experienced unkind treatment, deciding to give away all her favorite toys trying to become popular on the playground bas ...more
Skylar Burris
My daughter has already asked me to read this several times since checking it out form the library. I like that the vocabulary is not as dumbed down as in most modern children's books. I have no idea whether or not the author is Christian, but this seemed to be loaded with Christian meaning. The message seems to be that, as Jesus taught, you have to lose yourself to find yourself, a little more complex than your typical "be nice and share" book. It is similar to the story of the rich man in the ...more
Neligh
Jul 30, 2008 Neligh rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody really
Shelves: children
Now, the Rainbow Fish had scales that were shiny.
something something and act like a hiney.
the plain fishes gave up asking him to play,
something rude something, he swam away.

Later a plain fish requested a scale
"absolutely not," he sputtered, turning pale.
"they're mine. they're me. they're attached to my body."
Screamed the plain fish, "well I think they're gaudy!!"

much later, lonely and wanting some fun
he cried, "I know! I'll give away all but one!
THAT will make up for me being a tool!"
But before
...more
Elizabeth
I personally love this book, despite the fact that other people are so outraged by it. I find it kind of funny that people seem to be reaching for meanings, maybe as a means to back up their own personal feelings about things. Anyways....

The Rainbow Fish is very vain and thinks he's better than the other fish because he is so beautiful. He learns that being the most beautiful fish is not what is really important. I won't spoil it, but I think it's a great book and teaches valuable lessons.
Megan Sanchez
When I was about six, we had a book fair at school. You remember them - some company would take over your school library for the week and everyday you'd be asked to walk around and look at all the books you couldn't afford. At least, that's how I remember it. But this time, I became completely infatuated with one book in particular and could see no others. It was The Rainbow Fish. Everything about the book was magical to me and I begged and begged for the money to buy it. Finally, after days of ...more
Hannah
a special, ¨different¨ fish with rainbow scales is disliked by the other fish, who want his scales. the rainbow fish finally gives them his scales because he is convinced that they didn't like him because he wouldn't give them his scales (which is true). now they are all happy friends together! yay!!
Ghettohippie
Jun 21, 2008 Ghettohippie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: definately every child needs a copy
read it as often as possible to as many people as possible.....everybody gets a piece of beauty.....everyone is sharing.....everybody is friends....but the real reason i like the book so much is there is something shiny on every page.....yeah...the truthis finally out
Karen
I heard this book read aloud for the first time at a summer camp. A good friend then bought it for me as a birthday gift. It is a beautiful story about the joy that comes from giving of yourself to others.
Jamila Kamal
‘The Rainbow fish’ is a beautifully illustrated book written by Marcus Pfister, and is most definitely one of my favourite childhood books! It tells a story of a unique fish, who is constantly praised for having many colours of the rainbow on her fins. One day the rainbow fish is asked to share her beautiful scales with the other fish. However to their bewilderment, the brightly coloured fish refuses to share. The rainbow fish eventually seeks solace from the wise octopus who advises that it is ...more
Charlotte Dutton
Rainbow fish is an award winning book written by Swiss author and illustrator, Marcus Pfister and translated into English by J.Alison James. The story is about a beautiful fish, with glimmering scales, on his journey to find friendship through the act of learning to share. Hesitant at first, this beautiful fish cannot imagine giving away some of his glimmering scales, however, with the advice of a wise octopus, he soon realises he is much happier when he shares his beauty with the other fish in ...more
Orla Byrne
This is a beautifully illustrated book by Marcus Pfister. However, I'm in two minds about the story. On the one hand, like other reviewers, I feel that the key message is a bit odd. It tells the story of a fish who has lovely glittery scales but has no friends as the other fish are so jealous of his beauty. In order for the other fish to like him, he must give away all of his lovely scales. Only when they have gained a share of his scales will the other fish make friends with him. Although it do ...more
Zequoia Hyche
This book to me is a very important one, because it teaches children about having beauty within and confidence in yourself. Not only that, but it also teaches to the topic of making friends. As children, it often can become difficult for students to make friends, because of what they look like or what they may have. Others can be jealous of those things and treat you differently, but once you are confident in yourself, it helps others to be more accepting and comfortable around you. And you are ...more
Sarah
A lot of people rave over this one. Yes, it is true that the sparkly illustrations are eye-catching. However, the storyline is so common it has become rather trite. We get it okay? There's more to beauty than what's on the outside. Blah, blah, blah. Yet the irony is that the reason this book is so popular is precisely because of its beautiful illustrations.
Amanda-rdg3320
Of course this is a classic, it was one of the first books I got when I was little. Its a good book to teach about individuality and sharing and several other social skills. The colors are great in the book and the little metallic scales really add to the story. Kids love this book, I know I read it over and over.
Kelly
what a great little tale...
Elishia
The Rainbow Fish

This is an enchanting tale of the most beautiful fish in the ocean, the Rainbow Fish. Rainbow Fish had beautiful scales and all the other fish were in awe of her beauty. However when asked one day to share just one of her scales, Rainbow Fish refused to and all the other fish began to shun her.
Rainbow fish sought advice from the wise octopus and decided to be kind and share a beautiful scale as asked. Soon, she had shared all her scales out and only had one remaining. Yet, unlike
...more
Tracey Young
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is a wonderful tale with a moral that isn’t too deep even for the smallest
of children to understand. The story belongs to a very vain fish who discovers how rewarding it is to share with others. The eye-catching, holographic foil stamping tells the story of the vain, lonely Rainbow Fish who relinquishes his pride and gives away almost all of his special shiny scales to gain friends. The Rainbow Fish will enchant even the youngest child with his silver scales a
...more
Robert
The central character of this book is the Rainbow Fish, the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean who was “too beautiful” to play with the other fish. One day, a small fish asks the Rainbow Fish if he can share his shiny scales with him, of which the Rainbow Fish refuses and the remaining fish in the ocean distance themselves due to his selfishness. The consequence of this is that the Rainbow Fish becomes lonely and sad. The Rainbow Fish seeks guidance from an octopus who suggests he should sh ...more
Edward Sullivan
Always a popular title with young kids and teachers at school libraries where I worked. I understand the appeal but I find the message quite heavy handed.
Kimberly
This is a really cute book, there is also Rainbow Fish and the big blue whale. It is about a fish that is different than all of the other fish, he has beautiful scales and when he does not want to share them, the other fish stop talking/playing with him. He then shares his beautiful scales and gains the friendship of many fish.
It is good for teaching the importance of sharing, kindness and also uniqueness. The story just has a good moral to it.
Kate Babbitt
This book was one of my absolute favorites when I was younger, and I still think it is a greatly written and illustrated story. It is about a fish who has all of these shiny scales and a bunch of fish friends who do not. They ask if he could share one of his shiny scales and one by one he gives them out. In turn, the Rainbow fish has less scales. It is a great story on not only sharing, but not being selfish with what you have, when it is more than others. In a way it could be taught with the id ...more
Lucy
A storey about the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean who’s name was Rainbow fish. Rainbow fish had beautiful rainbow coloured scales. One day a little fish asks if he can have one of Rainbow fishes scales which he refuses. Rainbow fish finds himself alone and with no friends. He meets an octopus who says to give a scale to every fish that asks for one and he will have many friends. The little fish asks again for one of his scales, this time Rainbow fish agrees. The little fish tells the ot ...more
booklady
Jul 14, 2008 booklady rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children...of ALL ages
Reread. Sweet, simplistic story about pride and how to overcome it through generosity.

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One I remember enjoying with my daughters when they were little. Thanks for reminding me about it Skylar!
Kavitha Suhumar
The rainbow fish is ‘the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean.’ He refuses to share his beautiful scales with the other fishes. Being greedy and selfish leaves him lonely with no friends and the lonely fish asks advice form an octopus who tells the fish to share his beauty and learn to be happy. The rainbow fishes gives a scale to a fish where ‘a rather peculiar feeling’ came over him. The rainbow fish shared all his beautiful scales and was happy with all the friend he had made.

This book s g
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AngelBlueInATrenchcoat
I used to love this book as a kid, because it had a pretty sparkly rainbow fish in it, and I liked anything pretty or sparkly or rainbow-y.

Now, I think it's utter tosh. Why?

Well... what I remember is that the rainbow fish was pretty and sparkly and the other boring fish wanted some of her scales and she said no, so they left. She felt lonely then and wondered why they wouldn't play with her, so she set out to see, finding out that the jealous shits don't like her because she won't share her sc
...more
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Marcus Pfister was born in Berne, Switzerland, and began his career as a graphic artist in an advertising agency. In 1983, he decided to dedicate more time to artistic pursuits, and began to write and illustrate his first book, The Sleepy Owl, which was published in 1986. His best-known work to date is The Rainbow Fish, which has remained on bestseller lists across the United States since 1992.

Mar
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