Reviews for Freaky, funky fish : odd facts about fascinating fish

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

While fish are similar in having fins, gills, tails, and usually scales, in other ways they can be surprising. Shumaker’s debut picture book introduces a variety of unusual fish grouped into 18 different examples of intriguing appearances or behaviors. She introduces her categories page by page, with single lines of rhyming couplets in a large, legible type: “Some fish dance and some play dead. / One fish sports a see-through head!” The groupings seem arbitrary, as is often the case for collections of curiosities, but the facts are certainly interesting and generally accurate. The page designs vary widely. Some spreads are filled with cheerful cartoons full of different fish species. Other pages feature a single fish, sometimes with further details and labels in a smaller font. These fish have googly eyes and expressive faces but are reasonably recognizable in appearance. Many pages include a box with further facts—but not always the same kinds of facts. Beyond the species name, there might be observations, field notes, or a relevant question. Most fish also have a “freakiness” or “funkiness” rating displayed, as if that, too, were a fact like its interesting behavior or location. Three pages of backmatter give more information about fish that zap, sting, sing, and so on. Pair with Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig’s Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter?, illustrated by Ellen Shi (2020), for more marine fun. An odd assortment designed for entertainment over education. (further learning, selected sources) (Informational picture book. 4-8) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.