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The Rainbow Fish Hardcover – January 27, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 12,559 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you read this very popular book just before bed, and the light is still on in the hallway, you can make the rainbow scales glitter on the page, and realize why the Rainbow Fish was so proud of his beautiful decoration. Sometimes, though, being too proud of outside beauty can blind a fish, or a child (or even, heaven forbid, a parent) to the beauty people hold inside. That's the lesson of this simple tale, imported from Switzerland. It's a useful one for future sneaker and designer clothing shoppers, for rainbow fish--and for quieter, plainer minnows, too.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite some jazzy special effects achieved with shimmery holographs, this cautionary tale about selfishness and vanity has trouble staying afloat. Rainbow Fish, "the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean," refuses to share his prized iridescent scales--which, indeed, flash and sparkle like prisms as each page is turned. When his greed leaves him without friends or admirers, the lonely fish seeks advice from the wise octopus, who counsels him to give away his beauty and "discover how to be happy." The translation from the original German text doesn't enhance the story's predictable plot, and lapses into somewhat vague descriptions: after sharing a single scale, "a rather peculiar feeling came over Rainbow Fish." Deep purples, blues and greens bleed together in Pfister's liquid watercolors; unfortunately, the watery effect is abruptly interrupted by a few stark white, text-only pages. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ North-South Books; Later Printing edition (January 27, 1999)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1558580093
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1558580091
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD610L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.7 x 0.3 x 11.3 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 12,559 ratings

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Marcus Pfister has written and illustrated many books for North-South, including the popular Penguin Pete and Hopper series. His books The Rainbow Fish, Rainbow Fish to the Rescue!, and Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale have become international best-sellers.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
12,559 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible lesson. Wish I could return it
By misscarmen2010 on June 4, 2020
Not a good story. The fish all want his scales, so he has to give away all his scales to be friends...
horrible lesson. You don’t have to give away what you have to get friends. Your friends should like you just as you are. If you want to give people thI have then fine but it shouldn’t be a requirement of friendship. Everyone doesn’t need the exact same bings to be happy. It’s basically communist indoctrination. If all the fish have an equal number of scales then everyone will be happy and get along... bull crap... this book is going in the trash. I do believe Kids should play fair and share but if a kid doesn’t want to give away something that is prized to him he shouldn’t be ostracized for it, a kid shouldn’t have to give away their possessions to get friends. This “you have to give people what they want” mentality is dangerous.
Worst case scenario, it can be used to teach kids to allow Horrible abuse to continue, bc you want to be liked, don’t you so you have to give people what they want... no way, my kid won’t be taught to be used and be a doormat.
There are much better books to teach sharing, humility, and equality.
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Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Lauren S.
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible message to give children!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2019
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63 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty images, terrible message.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2020
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15 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the "Full Original" story, dont waste you money
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 8, 2020
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5 people found this helpful
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Aimee C.
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2021
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Not original story. Terrible message, not about sharing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 1, 2021
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