Re-reading Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister instantly reminded me of why I used to love this book as a child. The classic tale of the rainbow fish with sparkly scales is still known today as one of the most distinctive children’s picture books. Written in 1992, Rainbow Fish has understandably been the continuous recipient of numerous awards. This story tells the tale of a Rainbow Fish who is undeniably beautiful because of his shiny, shimmery scales. Every other fish is jealous of his unique looks and wants to have pretty scales too, but when asked to share his scales with others, Rainbow Fish is selfish and unwilling to share. As a result, he loses his friends and no longer receives the praise and admiration he once took for granted. It is not until he is referred to visit the wide old Octopus that Rainbow Fish is told that in order to be happy again, he must share with others. Hesitant to give up his claim-to-fame but also discouraged by his loss of friends, Rainbow Fish decides to share one scale with each fish. In the end, Rainbow Fish learns a valuable lesson: happiness comes when you are willing to give and not receive. In his case, Rainbow Fish learned that although it was great to be the recipient of constant praise and admiration, the feeling of sharing with others and making them happy was ultimately they key to his own happiness.
It was immediately apparent why I loved Rainbow Fish so much as a child and why it is continuously used with young children in classrooms and homes. The very necessary lesson and moral of the dangers of selfishness are not only presented and explained in very simple terms, but also give children a beautifully colorful representation of what it means to share love with others.