For the past four years, I’ve been teaching kinders how to create the Rainbow Fish. Saw it on the Internet, I’m sure, and thought, “Gee, this looks fun.” I’ve read all the Rainbow Fish books, including, Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale, Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, etc. All the Rainbow Fish books, EXCEPT for the first one. And let me tell you, the story sucks. I sat in my chair and read this story for the first time, watching my kinders’ faces contort in a “What?!” motion. My face was probably doing the same. I ended the story feeling sad for Rainbow Fish, and a little robbed, quite frankly. I wanted to scream out, “I didn’t know! I would never have read this if I knew this is what this story is about.” Instead, I could only apologize, in a meek way. Sorry kids, I messed up. I didn’t read the story ahead of time. Rookie mistake.
See, the whole idea of the book is about Rainbow Fish’s prized scales. The scales are what makes the Rainbow Fish special, unique, different. He swims around, minding his own business until a little fish asks him for a sparkle. Rainbow Fish tells him, “No.” The little fish quickly informs the ocean animals that Rainbow Fish is a jerk. They, in turn, ignore Rainbow Fish. So much happens you really feel for the little guy as he swims around alone, friendless, in a big ocean full of haters. He doesn’t get any friends until he gives all his scales away, all but one. He looks like everyone else. Sure he has bought his friends; he has destroyed the thing that made him different, the thing that made him happy; but, bought friends are friends nonetheless. So we have to be happy for him.
What?!!!! I know, I know. The story is supposed to be a story about sharing. The Rainbow Fish feels good about sharing his sparkles with others. Sharing is caring, blah, blah, blah. But really? I never knew this is how the story ended. I never really asked why the Rainbow Fish has only one sparkle, but from now on, my fishes are going to have sparkles and glitter, and whatever these kids want to put on them.
But of course, I didn’t take any photos of the fish once the sparkles went on. You get the idea of how to do the fish though.
It would be a nice change if we had more stories about the power of saying, “No.” Sometimes we emphasize too much on sharing. Sharing is important, but saying no is pretty important too. We need to teach children this too.
It would be great to have a story about the small fish who didn’t get what he wanted and had to figure out another way to get some sparkle in his life. This could be a potential book! Hmmm… stay tuned.