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Fish Girl
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Critiques de la presse spécialisée

  Critique New York Times

IN THESE FRAUGHT times to be female, two well-timed new books feature young women who are shoved into boxes by adults, well-meaning and otherwise. You'd better believe they're not going to stay there. In "Princess Cora and the Crocodile," the titular princess is at her wit's end. Rather mature-looking for 7, she's an only child and heir to the throne. Her existence is micromanaged down to the last minute (perhaps some kids can relate). Her doting parents want her to be prepared for the responsibilities ahead, so she spends hours studying with her mother, takes three baths a day with her nanny and exercises with her father. She might cope if only they would let her have a dog, but no. The shedding! She entreats her fairy godmother for help. Maybe she should've been more specific, because help arrives in the form of a crocodile, delivered in a box with air holes. The crocodile takes Cora's place in exchange for cream puffs. He keeps his promise not to eat anyone but wreaks havoc, which we see juxtaposed with Cora's sweet day of climbing trees and stepping in cow pies. The Newbery medalist (for "Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!") Laura Amy Schlitz's witty writing matches perfectly with the energetic watercolors by Brian Floca, who won the Caldecott Medal for "Locomotive." I dare you not to laugh at the pink-frocked reptile desperately trying to jump rope. In the end the adults are suitably chastened and Cora asserts herself to find a compromise - just two baths a day. And about that dog.... Donna Jo Napoli and David Wiesner's graphic novel "Fish Girl" is a darker, stranger story. There are no doting parents. Fish Girl is kept in her boardwalk aquarium home by a sinister man calling himself the god Neptune. He claims to have rescued her from fishermen. If she's seen, he says, scientists will take her and cut her open. So she teases audiences with glimpses, in exchange for Neptune's stories of where she came from. Nameless and mute, she is resigned to her life, until she's spotted by a girl her age. They become friends, and through their secret sisterhood Fish Girl acquires what Neptune desperately didn't want her to have: a name, a voice and the courage to uncover the truth behind her stifling home. In a powerful climax she stands (yes, stands) over the false god and takes her place on his throne. The surreal and sometimes unsettling story is grounded by the three-time Caldecott medalist Wiesner's soft, realistic artwork, and Napoli's spare text transports us inside Fish Girl's head as she pieces things together. This is not a funny book. Fish Girl is in a dangerous situation, and the idea of a grown man keeping a child in a tank is not pleasant. But that makes her determination and bravery to become what she wants to be all the more powerful, and in the end Mother Nature puts things right (though there is no jail time for Neptune, unfortunately). Do not hesitate to give these books to boys as well as girls - in fact, I would encourage it. Each of these girls found a way to live on her own terms. You can even imagine them as friends, meeting in their lovely watercolor worlds. VERA BROSGOL is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel "Anya's Ghost" and the picture book "Leave Me Alone!"

  Commentaire hebdomadaire des maisons d'édition

In Wiesner and Napoli's unsettling tale of self-discovery, a young mermaid who stars in a boardwalk aquarium show begins to question her circumstances after a human girl offers her friendship. Though she can't talk and has never been outside, Mira-as her new friend Livia christens her-slowly realizes that the show's domineering owner, Neptune, may not be as benevolent or godlike as he seems. "The scientists will take you to a lab," he threatens, warning her against being seen. "They'll cut you open." With Livia's encouragement, help from her fellow sea creatures, and her own extra-human powers, Mira delivers herself from her captor. Napoli (Dark Shimmer) and Wiesner (Mr. Wuffles!) create a plot that crackles, and Wiesner's graceful, classically proportioned artwork makes the story's fantastical elements clear and believable. But Neptune's catalog of classic psychological abuse seems to belong to an edgier tale. Livia's goofy presence counterbalances the menace ("This is a cheese and lettuce sandwich," she explains to Mira, holding up a drawing), and Mira's sidekick-a huge, brooding octopus-offers her the love that Neptune withholds. Ages 10-12. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Commentaire du journal de la bibliothèque scolaire

Gr 4-8-Children's literature powerhouses Napoli and Wiesner have teamed up to create a striking graphic novel. On the boardwalk, visitors flock to Ocean Wonders, a tank filled with a shark, fish, an octopus, and a turtle-and the star attraction, the elusive Fish Girl. Though kids stare into the water, they catch only a glimpse of the mermaid's fin or arm. Fish Girl's owner and protector, who calls himself Neptune, exerts a Svengali-like control over his mute ward, claiming that he once ruled the ocean and forbidding her from fully revealing herself. But when the young mermaid befriends a girl who visits the tank, she begins to question Neptune's stories about her past and to dream about escaping. Employing inspired composition, a masterly sense of perspective and angles, and a palette dominated by vivid blues and greens, Wiesner submerges readers in Fish Girl's world, conveying both her affection for her home and her companion Octopus and her desire to know life outside her constricting tank. The realistic images and controlled linework hint at a sense of magic below the surface. However, the narrative may stymie readers. Many questions go unanswered (for instance, how does Fish Girl trade her scales and fins for legs when she leaves the water?), and the book ends on a somewhat ambiguous note. VERDICT A gorgeous though cryptic offering; hand this modern-day fairy tale to those who appreciate folklore-influenced fiction.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater. A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl's longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humor and brilliantly visualized, Fish Girl's story will resonatewith every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up.
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