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Cheer Up, Blobfish!

By Julie Murphy & Rachel Tribout.

Reviewed by Margarite Igras

Julie Murphy has written this wonderful story about a real but very unusual fish that exists in the very deep ocean around Tasmania. She has used her background as a trained zoologist and zookeeper to introduce this strange pink gelatinous marine animal to an audience of young curious readers. Together with Rachel Tribout’s colourful and animated illustrations, we have a story that will engage both preschool children and the adult reader, because it is not a mythical or cartoon character, but a Blobfish, that exists. To my surprise, there are other picture books about this subject – Miranda Paul’s Blobfish throws a party and Martin Brown’s Bobby the Blobfish.
It is the Festival of the Fish, the biggest party of the year. Time for marine animals to gather, have some fun and share their talents. The perch play hide-and-seek, the sturgeon sings a song and other fish are sculpturing in the sand. But Two beady eyes are following the fun and games and chatter. It is the sad face of Blobfish. A crowd collects and tries to cheer him up.  The clownfish tells some jokes, the sawfish does some magic tricks, and the dolphin squeals and clicks, performs backflips…but the blobfish only DROOPS. In desperations, they call upon the wisdom of the shark, who informs them that their sad friend lives in the deep cold ocean where the weight of the water, has a remarkable effect on the animals that live there.
The reader will be delightfully surprised by the cover – with the large face of Blobfish, that changes from happy to glum when the book is moved. The author has used the end pages to give a snapshot of the marine life in the top layers of the ocean and the murky layers of the depths. The illustrations fill the pages with animated colourful marine characters, and the rhyming text is a delight to read, as is the additional information about the Blobfish at the back of the book.
A fun, bright, and educational book for 3- to 7-year-olds. I am sure the changing shape of the Blobfish as it returns to deep ocean will engage the reader and elicit many keen questions.
Affirm Press 2024
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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