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Friday, November 14, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish

Holm, Jennifer. 2014. THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. New York: Random House Children's Books.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm (Babymouse and Squish) is a short book that straddles the line between realistic and science fiction. Ellie is a 6th grader. One night, her mom comes home late because she had to go help her grandfather get out of trouble. When her mom comes home, she has a strangely dressed young boy with her. Ellie soon figures out that the young man at her house is actually her grandfather.

Her grandfather, Melvin, is a scientist who worked in a lab. A cab driver from the Phillipines finds an odd specimen of jellyfish and ships it to Melvin. Melvin discovers that he is able to use the jellyfish to create a compound that reverse ages things - it makes them younger. So, he tries it on himself and turns into a 13 year old boy. He gets caught by the police when he tries to sneak back into his lab to get the rest of the jellyfish specimen.

Ellie loves having her grandfather around. He teaches her about several famous scientists and tells her about the power of observation. They have several adventures, including attempting to get into Melvin's lab to rescue the rest of the jellyfish specimen. 

No one seems to question that the odd boy wearing clothes that an older man would wear is a distant cousin of Ellie and her mom. In fact, Ellie thinks the whole thing is 'cool' until her ex-best friend tells her that she thinks her 'cousin' is cute, and Ellie realizes that her grandfather hasn't really thought through his whole reverse-aging experiment. 

I found this book to be choppy, and while it was a quick read, it didn't really hold my interest. The plot was introduced in a comical way, but I didn't find this book to be all that funny. The moral of this book was also way too obvious - enjoy the present moment - but I think that readers could figure this out on their own without being told several times.

It was a quick read with an interesting premise, but I never felt very connected to this story.

Just keep reading,
Mrs. Cox

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