We returned from vacation and our black goldfish was orange. My brother let out a wail, “Blacky!” Our babysitters/pet sitters had kindly replaced my brother’s fish when he met his maker. They just forgot to keep it the same color.
You can’t blame them. They were teenagers and our pets seemed to always implode when we traveled. Our hamster escaped, pooping all over the house, chewing things up. Our cat threw up, strayed from his litter box, and set off the burglar alarm. Once we arrived home, our neat freak dad would, well, freak out.
At least the Kleinfeldt girls replaced the fish. When I went to college, my family forgot that my goldfish, Fred and Ginger, were in my room where they were left to a sad fate. I learned about it on a call home.
These goldfish memories attracted me to Rosy Lamb’s book Paul Meets Bernadette, a story about fish. (And my brother’s name is Paul.)
The jacket description alone pulled me in. It states that Lamb “painted the pictures for this book while her baby daughter slept by her side.” And the painter and sculptor, “lives in a studio with tall windows on a quiet street in Paris.” These idyllic descriptions match Lamb’s lovely paintings.
The story is not only pretty – it’s funny. Paul swims around in circles, until Bernadette is dropped in and shows him a different way of looking at the world. As they swim around the bowl, they examine items on the breakfast table and Bernadette incorrectly identifies objects. A banana is a boat. A teapot is an elephant feeding her children. Reading glasses are a butterfly. Max and Calvin find this hilarious. They howl, “That’s not an elephant!”
But the sweetness of the story isn’t lost on them. Paul loves Bernadette and thinks, “Bernadette, you are my star.”
“He loves her,” Max points out. “Do fish kiss?”
Where to find the book and more info
We found this book at the Public Library of Greater Cincinnati at the Clifton branch. You can buy it here and watch a video reading of the book. Visit Rosy Lamb’s website to see her sculpture and paintings.
Speaking of local libraries, our branch is moving right around the corner from us in May into the Parkview Manor!