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Zebrafish Paperback – June 26, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—Vita is having a hard time making friends and meeting people at her new school until the day she holds auditions for her rock band Zebrafish. While she has big hopes and dreams for the group, she's disappointed with the kids' musical talents. However, she finds skills and abilities in these new bandmates, and they all work together to create a music video. As the band plans and strategizes, Vita can't help but be disappointed that one member continually misses meetings. Then she learns that Tanya has leukemia, and Zebrafish holds a fundraising concert to help the hospital get the medical equipment it needs. Illustrations vary greatly in size and color; some are full page, some are full spreads, and others appear in panels. All are uncluttered and easy to follow. Clear and sharply inked, the color art makes a fine contrast between light and dark scenes and creates balance and tone throughout. This book will speak to children about fighting for a cure/treatment for cancer and shows the value of involvement in this important issue.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Several friends, led by the purple-haired Vita, try to figure out how to make their band work despite the fact that no one knows how to play anything. But when Vita, whose older brother is a cancer researcher, learns that band-member Tanya has leukemia, she begins to wonder how their upcoming performance might be put to a greater good. Emerson’s graphic novel (developed with Peter Reynolds’ FableVision media company) succeeds on several levels: the characters are credibly diverse in personality and appearance, and their individual stories are carefully twisted into a full and complex story arc. Additionally, information about leukemia’s physical toll on a young patient and research methods to combat it are integrated cleanly and without didacticism. Full-color panels vary in size and shape, with scenes moving from the stage to a soda shop to the back corridors of the hospital. Gentler and for a younger crowd than Judd Winick’s Pedro and Me (2000), this bouncy cartoon story nonetheless mines equally serious territory, and stands a good chance of finding wide popularity to boot. Grades 5-8. --Francisca Goldsmith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 230L (What's this?)
  • Series: Zebrafish
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416997075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416997078
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CandysRaves (and Rants) VINE VOICE on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Vita lives with her older brother who is a doctor researching cancer. She starts the year at a new school, not knowing anyone. She buys a second-hand guitar and decides she wants to start a band. She doesn't really have any friends until she posts a flier announcing auditions. What do you do when no one in your band even knows how to play an instrument? Find a way to make the world a better place, of course!

Zebrafish is a different kind of graphic novel. The pages hold so many positive and inspirational themes that it leaves the reader feeling that they can change the world. It does this with a touching story of a lonely girl who at first dreams of being a rock star, but realizes that there is more to life than stardom.

My 9 year old just started the book and already he can't put it down. The characters are diverse and detailed enough that just about everyone will find someone that they can identify with. It is a great read that I recommend to anyone of any age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Vita decides she wants to form a band, but first she needs members - and they have to learn to play instruments. Vita recruits band members at her school and they decide to put on a concert. When the band learns that fellow member, Tanya, has leukemia, the band decides to change their concert to a fundraiser for cancer research.

The good thing about ZEBRAFISH is that it's never overly preachy about doing good. The characters are diverse and I'm sure readers will find someone to relate to. Tanya's illness is touched on, but this isn't a cancer book. This is more a story about finding friends and putting your talents to work for a good cause.

Because there are a lot of main characters, you never really get to fully know each one, and I would love more back story about each of the band members. I'm glad to know there will be another ZEBRAFISH book coming, so hopefully we get to know the band more.

Even though the story deals with some hard topics, the book never feels weighed down by that storyline, which I think will give it lots of appeal for readers who want a realistic story that's not issue-heavy. The artwork is bright and colorful and will appeal to fans of comics and graphic novels.

I would give this one to tweens looking for a realistic fiction comic book, and it would be a great book to start a discussion about fundraising and volunteering.

Reviewed by: Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy on February 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am still fairly new to Graphic Novels. I have only been reading them a few years. But I do know stories and this is an amazing one. It is a story about a girl that wants to become a musician, Vita Escolar. Her older brother is a medical researcher. She puts up posters for band members but no one who comes is actually a musician except Jay. The main characters are:

Vita
Jay
Plinko
Tanya
Walt

They start out with different goals for the band, but in the end they discover a unified goal and purpose. They also lean that sometimes helping others is much more important than your own goals. This was an incredible book with an amazing story. It would be a great addition to any High School curriculum and will challenge anyone who reads it to learn to be a better person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ouija VINE VOICE on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Zebrafish is the kind of book you can give to your child (mine is 11) and know it's something they will enjoy AND hopefully take away a positive life lesson. A lot of emphasis in our schools (at least in my city) is placed on individual rewards, and that's why I see this book as something good: it teaches (without getting lecturing) kids to find something they believe in and then go out and make a difference. The book is colorful, great artwork, and has a flowing, enjoyable storyline. Definitely recommend for any preteen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CSK on April 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My daughters, 9 and 11, and I all loved this book. My 11-yr old declared it her favorite book after the first reading. It strikes just the right tone for this age group, depicting a group of friends that are supportive, positive, and caring. The backstory of Vita and some of the other characters unfold gradually, allowing the reader to see how lives can be linked. It is a really uplifting book.
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