Indi's Reviews > The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
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Mar 29, 2012


I had originally wrote this as a response to someone else's review (who did not like the book for its "socialist" views), but I decided it was more or less a review of what I thought of the book. So here is my little tidbit:

I was really surprised at your insight. However, I hope you'll allow me to share mine. I felt like the story could have also been teaching the valuable lesson of compromise-- that sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. I think maybe this starts teaching children that nothing in life is free or should be taken for granted, and that each thing usually comes with its price. In this case, the price for companionship was the scales. If a parent thought that this was too harsh for a child, then they have a right to that opinion and should therefore abstain from reading the book to their child. In addition, I think it is a bit unfair, in my opinion, to say that because the fish gave away all its pretty scales, it can't be individualistic. It's like saying people of the same color lose their individualism within one another. I beg to differ. There are other qualities that could have set the rainbow fish apart—his kindness when he shared his scales, his curiosity for why he had no friends, etc. And who says being unique is always a good thing? A lot of conditioning happens when we're young and at school. We learn a part of our social norms there, as well as at home. If we didn't embrace some of our social norms, then (in an extreme example) many of our laws would be broken. Having a good feel for what is considered "normal" and "socially acceptable" is a way of survival. Personally, I think that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this book. I liked the optimism I saw in this book, so I guess my review is biased. But what “review” isn’t biased? From this book, I gained the value of reflection; sometimes in order to find solutions to your problems, you have to be able to reflect on your actions and be assertive in carrying out your solution.

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And as an ending thought, after I thought a bit more:
I know that there may always be a hidden meaning to everything-- a subliminal mind message, if you will-- but... Why can't things also just be as they seem? It's good to always be vigilant of how we may be blindly fed ideas, but if this book is just hitting on the value of sharing, isn't that a good thing? Selfish people are generally not looked well upon. I know that I'm not too fond of them. Are you?
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