Tropical Terry by Jarvis

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406378627
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Difference. Friendship. Coral reef. Fish. Terry is an unexciting blue fish swimming amongst the coral of a coral reef. His large eye watches as the beautiful, differently coloured coral fish swim by and longs to be with them. They seem to have all the fun as they swim by in a large group, showing off their plumage and colours. But Terry's friends, Cilla the crab and Steve the sea snail, tell him not to worry but to keep playing with them. They play hide a fish (which Terry is very good at as he blends into the background so well) and dodge a dolphin, while the coral fish above swirl around and around. Terry is dismayed, so he takes a fish net and gathers up a lot of seaweed, asking his friends to help make him look more interesting.
When they finish making him up, he looks stunning, equaling the coral fish in appearance and they accept him as one of their own.
The brilliantly coloured illustrations reveal the secrets of a coral reef with its large numbers of brightly coloured fish, the corals and seaweed alongside the other sea animals. The colours are engaging and younger readers will enjoy picking out all the different things they can see.
But with Terry gamboling amongst the coral fish, going around and around, a hungry eel passes by targeting the brightest fish he can see, Terry. Terry must avoid being eaten and his friends Cilla and Steve call out to him helping him escape the eel.
All ends happily as the coral fish come to realise that appearance is not all it's cracked up to be, and readers will be able to discuss concepts such as difference, envy, friendship and keeping up with the crowd.
Fran Knight