Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Great Carp Escape, by Irish Beth Maddock, illustrated by Lucent Ouano

Paul and Beth live next to a large, lovely lake, and spend their days in and out of the water, exploring their world.  One day they see an ugly fish, a carp, but their wise father reminds them, "God thinks this fish is wonderful.  God thinks you're wonderful, too."  When the lake rises, it floods their lakeside world.  As the water recedes, a pond is left behind by the weeping willow.  Paul and Beth see that the pond is full of carp, and as the pond dries up, the carp have no way to get back to the large lake.  So that the carp don't die in their shrinking pond, the children work together with their father and some friends and neighbors to dig a trench, allowing the carp to swim back to the lake and live.

Irish Beth Maddock's The Great Carp Escape has all the elements of a memorable children's book.  Lucent Ouano's artwork is colorful and cute, with details that little eyes will delight in finding.  Maddock gives the children a sense of adventure and wonder which young readers will embrace as they share Paul and Beth's fascination with the world around them.  And Maddock teaches strong moral lessons.  Paul and Beth see a problem: the carp will die if they stay in the shrinking pond.  Along with their dad, they develop a solution, bring the community together to dig the trench.  The larger lesson is even more important.  Even the ugly little fish matter to God, and should matter to us.  And guess what?  We matter to God, too!

Thanks to Irish Beth Maddock for the complimentary review copy!

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