Saturday, February 24, 2018

Book Review: 'Fish Also Go To Heaven' by Tammy Brown Elkeles

Nigerian born Israeli author Tammy Brown Elkeles lives in Tel Aviv. She earned a BA in chemistry and nutritional biochemistry and later studied advertising as well as interior design before studying playwriting and screenwriting. Currently she is assistant director for the documentary Cinema Egypt, assistant editor for a documentary on a rap group, and writer of a documentary for National Geographic. And now she returns to an early passion of writing children’s books. To date she has published seven successful children’s books.

In FISH ALSO GO TO HEAVEN she ably deals with that endless question children (and indeed sensitive adults) pose about life and death and the cycle that connects them. 5-year-old Ellie has a pet goldfish Fishie whom she adores – feeding him, talking to him, and watching his swimming antics in his fish bowl. Ellie even tended to be late for school, caring for Fishie, and when she arrived at school she regaled her friends with tales about Fishie. At home she tells Fishie everything – her infatuation with a boy named Neil, and other ideas. One night Ellie has a nightmare and when she awakened to share the dream with Fishie, he was motionless. Ellie shared the fact with hr mother who comforted her that Fishie likely needed medicine that she would buy for him. But sadly Fishie dies and in Ellie’s grief her mother reassures her that Fishie has gone to Fishie heaven where he will have friends and be happy – even if he goes to the highest pond of heaven. And there is the possibility that Fishie will come back to earth- the same inside, but perhaps different on the outside. Ellie and her mother go tot the pet store and there, lo and behold, is Fishie – back for Ellie!

The story is beautifully told with finesse and tenderness. The story is illustrated by Raquel Afonso whose images bring Tammy’s story to life visually. This is a very fine children’s book that children will enjoy reading and learn some very supportive facts of life. Grady Harp, September 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.