Goldeye and Funnyfin

3 April 2014

Goldeye and Funnyfin
by Fannie Kahan
Illustrated by Sharon Kahan
Published by Wild Sage Press
Reviewed by Alison Hayford
$25.00 ISBN 978-0-9881229-4-9

Three-year-old Eli is not an avid reader. But when his granny (me) brought him a copy of Goldeye and Funnyfin, Eli was entranced—along with seven-year-old Theo, who can read Harry Potter books all by himself. There’s something about this simple story and its delicate watercolour illustrations that catches and holds the attention of young children.

Fannie Kahan created Goldeye and Funnyfin for her own children years ago. It’s a story in the classic tradition of folk tales, in which a main character undertakes a quest and, in the process, makes discoveries about the larger world and about her- or himself.

Goldeye and Funnyfin are two small fish. Goldeye decides they should build a house. Funnyfin says “fish don’t live in houses,” but Goldeye prevails, and off they go on their quest. As they search for a way to build a house, the two fish encounter fellow sea creatures—Willa the Whale, Sammy the Swordfish, Octavia the Octopus, and others, large and small, happy and sad, good-natured and grumpy.

In the end, as in all good folk tales, Goldeye and Funnyfin find more than they were looking for: not just a house, but friendship, community, and home.

Sharon Kahan’s images of these animals and their world are imaginative and engaging, with soft colours and swirling shapes that encourage children’s imaginations.

Goldeye and Funnyfin will please three-to-five year olds who want adventure, but not too much, along with a good ending. Older children will be inspired to read to themselves. And grownups will find the book good for multiple reads!


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