Lovely watercolor paintings and elegant, elliptic prose render an inspirational fable of a cunning wee fish's communal calamity by predation, peregrinating observations of polyps, crustaceans, coelenterate, et al. and ultimate triumph, the entirety of which may be comfortably digested by children. A unique celebration of personal and collective values, the author's narrative demonstrates how the salvatory ingenuity of exceptional individuals can transmit sublimity to and thusly preserve an able ingroup, here emblemized by a confluent shoal. Lionni's practical acquaintance in Italian avant-garde circles and occupation as a commercial graphic designer informed the stylism of his found-collage stampings, applied here in vivid, varicolored evocation of aquatic flora and fauna, and stony environs of brackish climes.
Few picture books are so requisite to a juvenile library as this title.