20 Bad Books To Give To Young Kids

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(Image via NorthSouth)

5. The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish tells the story of a beautiful fish – “the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean” – adorned with shining scales. He’s called, naturally, Rainbow Fish. One day, a small fish asks Rainbow Fish if he could have one of the beautiful scales. The Rainbow Fish refuses. The other fish are disturbed by his actions and refuse to play with him.

The Rainbow Fish is naturally upset, though still confused. He visits an octopus, who tells him that he must share his beauty in order to regain his friends. So, the next time a fish asks him for a scale, the Rainbow Fish gives it. He feels good about himself. In fact, he feels so good about himself that he gives away all of his shining scales to the other fish.

Now, it’s true that the Rainbow Fish is pretty haughty. He’s overly focused on the vanity of his fancy scales, and he’s pretty rude to the first fish that asks for his scales. Honestly, though? Who asks for a fish’s scales? It’s like if someone complimented your hair, then asked if they could chop off a braid and wear it around on their head. Sounds a lot weirder now, doesn’t it?

Critics have also raised concerns about possible socialist messages in the book. The author, Marcus Pfister, has adamantly claimed that the book is about the joy of sharing and has no political message. Other commentators, however, worry that it rejects any notion of individuality and promotes a bland conformity and bending to groupthink.

I’m not sure what interpretation fits best, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide. But I’ll bet you didn’t think The Rainbow Fish could lead to a kid-level discussion about socialism, did you?