Cover image for A fish named Glub
A fish named Glub
Bar-el, Dan, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto, ON : Kids Can Press, [2014]
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
A small and ordinary fish named Glub asks himself the big questions in life as he observes life in the diner beyond his fishbowl. Who am I? Where do I belong? The lively characters around him provide unexpected answers, but soon it's Glub who reveals answers to their questions -- and their hearts' true desires.
Reading Level:
AD 350 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 166489.
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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In this truly original picture book, a fish named Glub ponders the big questions (?Who am I? ?What do I need? ?Where do I belong?) as he looks out from his fishbowl at the end of the counter at Foster G. Willikers's diner. For every one of his questions, Glub instantly receives an answer via the variety of conversations he overhears, as the colorful people who frequent the diner go about the business of their lives. At the same time, all these people, including Foster, are finding some answers of their own as they look back at Glub swimming around in his bowl.

Rich yet accessible collage-style illustrations by Josée Bisaillon warmly invite readers into Glub's world on each of the spreads of this unique book, while the text alternates between the poetry-inspired thoughts of Glub and the lively dialogue of the humans. What award-winning children's author and storyteller Dan Bar-el manages to do in this moving and optimistic book is to present two different layers within one story. There is the delightful, simple narrative about what happens to Glub and the people in the diner --- a fun, humorous read-aloud, perfect for storytime. But there is also a more reflective and poignant tale here of love, self-discovery and hope, which provide an opportunity for deeper reading, understanding and critical thinking, and which would make an excellent resource for a character education lesson on dealing with feelings.

Author Notes

Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children's author, educator and storyteller. His writing includes both chapter books and picture books. Dan currently travels across the country, visiting schools and libraries to present his books, give storytelling performances and lead different writing workshops. Back in Vancouver, he teaches creative writing courses for children through the organization Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC). He shares his life with artist and goldsmith Dominique Bréchault and Sasha, the smartest and cutest cat in the known universe.

As a young girl, Josée loved drawing cats and houses. She really enjoyed school and always returned home full of stories to tell (and, of course, to draw!). She liked being in the classroom so much that she pursued her education all the way to university, where she studied graphic design. It was there that she fell in love with the occupation of illustrator.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The tenant who lives upstairs of a nondescript diner moves and leaves behind a goldfish. Foster, who runs the diner, takes it downstairs. When a little girl makes Glub-glub! sounds at the bowl, the fish assumes Glub is his name. And while Glub looks ordinary, he wonders about everything. This charming allegory may be too old for the intended age group in some ways, but even little ones will respond to Glub's big questions: Who am I? What am I doing here? Where is home? Glub finds his own special talent blowing bubbles into the shapes of people's dreams which leads at least some of the people who frequent the diner to listen to their hearts. It takes Foster a little longer, but by book's end, both Foster and fish have dreams fulfilled. Artfully told, the story's melancholy edge is melted by the connections made between characters. The collage-style art charms with its childlike appeal that helps put the book right at the reader's level. This is a book to return to, with nuance adding to each reading.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bar-el's (Dream Boats) tale of a fish who changes the lives of the employees and patrons of a small diner has the scope of a novel. Like a small child, Glub learns about himself by echoing what he hears. His name comes from a girl's exclamation-"Glub!" she shouts-and his first piece of self-knowledge comes from the girl's mother, Jenny: "Leave that poor fish alone." "Oh," thinks Glub, "I am Glub, all alone." With quiet humor, Bisaillon (Oh No, School!) shows the diner's customers as a series of rear ends perched on stools, with Glub on the furthest one peering anxiously out at the world. Readers learn that grill cook Foster is sweet on Jenny, and wishes desperately for adventure and change; luckily (and unexpectedly), Glub possesses the power to show people their dreams, and he bestows his gift on Foster. While young readers may not be concerned with adult hopes and despairs, Bar-el's lyrical prose and Glub's underdog (underfish?) triumph offer entertainment for those who aren't actively wondering what they're meant to be doing with their lives. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agent: Morgan Gaynin Inc. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Rendered in mixed media in warm hues, with stylized illustrations and an introspective philosophy, this story is about a fish who learns about how he ended up in his bowl at Foster G. Williker's diner. The rhyming text moves the story along as customers come in and out of the diner and stop to talk to Glub. As they offer tips for taking care of him, Glub shows them their memories and their dreams through fish bubbles, making even the most skeptical person happy. Eventually, Glub shows the diner's owner his true dream for happiness and even shares one of his own. Similar to Devin Scillian's Memoirs of a Goldfish (Sleeping Bear, 2010), this story will appeal to older children who grasp the power of dreams, hopes, and memories, while younger children will enjoy the antics of Glub and the people he meets during his time at the diner.-Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.