All Ages* / Fantasy / Adventure
I gave this book 5 of 5 Stars
In David A Neumeier’s Hope – The Story of a Banana-Fish, readers are taken on a wonderful underwater adventure seemingly inspired in part by Disney’s Finding Nemo but also by J.D. Salinger’s short “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” In Hope, the main character is a young female fish named Hope who, like Nemo, has physical characteristics that set her apart from the other fish in her community and cause her mockery and embarrassment. Also, like Nemo, Hope gets separated from her school and her dad sets out to find her; however, the similarities end there. As Hope finds strength in her differences and in her journey to reconnect with her parents and their school, she learns to trust her instincts and follow her heart – even when they are in opposition to the norm. Neumeier has written a fast-paced, action packed story that will keep the youngest readers entertained and on the edge of their seats, while older readers reflect upon the deeper messages about society.
Neumeier’s writing is smooth and he has a real talent for storytelling, striking just the right balance between the dialogue and expository writing. The characters are rich and memorable, with enough details given for readers to connect. It is impressive that from a few lines in the tale by Salinger (that the bananafish will overfeed itself on bananas to the point it gets so fat it can’t escape from its hole and dies), Neumeier has created an entire underwater society and system which Hope turns upside down. It’s an excellent illustration of how one person or event can be a huge catalyst for positive change.
*While this book isn’t categorized for children, it absolutely is appropriate for kids and lends itself to many opportunities for teachable moments about tolerance, co-existence, fear, perseverance, safety, and so much more. Hope – The Story of a Banana-Fish has all the right elements, including humor, heartache, and horror, to keep readers engaged to the final pages.
This book was reviewed for Readers' Favorite, which provided me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.
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