Cover image for Manu and the talking fish
Manu and the talking fish
Arenson, Roberta.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Barefoot, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
The ancient Indian story of Manu, who is rewarded when he saves the life of a little fish. The fish tells him what he must do to save himself and the world from destruction in the coming flood.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.4 0.5 35596.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.A66 MA 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



Manu, an Indian prince, saves the life of a little fish who is really the god Brahma in disguise. The special fish can see the future and rewards Manu by warning of a coming flood which will cover the Earth. Full-color illustrations.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8, younger for reading aloud. Stories of a flood that destroys and then renews the world come from many cultures: this one is from India and predates the biblical story about Noah. Manu is a prince who wonders about many things. One day, while sitting by the River Ganges thinking, he saves a small fish and brings it to his palace. The fish promises to help Manu, and when it grows so large it needs to be released into the sea, it tells Manu that a flood is coming to destroy the world. Manu builds a boat and fills it with animals, seeds, and seven wise men, as the fish bids him. The fish pulls the boat to safety, and when the waters recede, Manu sets the animals free and plants the seeds. A woman rises out of an offering of milk to be Manu's wife and to repopulate the earth. Arenson's color-saturated, textured collages use both painted and printed paper to make an array of forms and shapes that capture the story's mood. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-In this retelling of a Hindu flood myth, Manu helps a talking fish ("-really the god Brahma in disguise"), and the creature in turn instructs him to build a boat and gather on it seeds, animals, and "the seven wise men from the ends of the earth." When the flood comes, the fish tows the boat to a mountain, where Manu renews life. Arenson has retold the story in simple language, with just a few lines of text per page, making it suitable for reading aloud. Although she uses Indian motifs in her illustrations, the paper collages with watercolor, oil pastel, crayon, and stencils are stylistically her own. The deep, vivid colors and textures in simple cut shapes are striking; and while the human forms are blunt and stiff and may not excite children, they suit the formal mood of the story, and carry well from a distance. A lengthy and informative "Artist's Note" gives as much explanation of sources for the illustrations as for the story. One curious interpretation Arenson doesn't address is her depiction of the animals being loaded "two-by-two," Noah-style, onto the boat, since, in the story, Manu is instructed simply to bring them "all." Nicely done, this book may not jump off the shelf, but should be useful for folktale or storytelling collections.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.