Sarah's Stars

Ian and Vladyana Krykorka. Carl, The Christmas Carp
Orca Book Publishers  $19.95  ISBN 13: 978-1-55143-329-5  32 pg.
Reviewed by Sarah, Age 16

"Mum,” said Radim, “maybe we could let Carl go, and have chicken.”

Radim’s mother laughed … “Don’t be ridiculous, Radim,” she said. “Nobody eats chicken at Christmas.”

Every year Radim’s family has traditional carp for Christmas dinner.  This year, however, after finding the perfect carp in the marketplace with his father, he becomes strangely attached to the ugly, unresponsive fish.  Since chicken isn’t an option, Radim must face the fact that his new friend is inevitably going to be his dinner.  Or, he must find a way to free Carl of such a gruesome fate.

My favourite part about the book Carl, the Christmas Carp is its size and shape.  It’s perfect for reading aloud, and the colourful cover illustration instantly appealed to me.  Inside, the illustrations are bright and bold.  They portray the story well, and are sufficiently detailed to hold the attention of a young listener long enough for the text to be read.  The illustrations would also help explain the story if a child was trying to read it to his or herself.

I think that Carl, the Christmas Carp deserves four stars.  It is hard for me to judge, since I no longer know what it’s like to have a picture book read to me, but I think that I would have enjoyed this story; the artwork is very different, as is the story.  It’s not your classic Christmas story, but that just makes it all the more loveable.


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