Judge a Book by its Cover: Barry the Fish with Fingers

Posted on March 12, 2013 by Paul Hawkins

Life is short. Books are long. Some of them can't even be downloaded to your phone because they're made of old, dead tree. It's all very long-winded and silly, and you're a busy, modern-day champion of life. But never fear! The Hipstery is here to save you time and money by beaming books straight into your brain through the speedy medium of prejudice. Yes, this is us literally judging books by their covers. How clever of us.

This is a book about desire and disappointment. When Barry finds a magic anchor, he rubs it, and gets to make a single wish from the ghost of a pirate called Beardbeard. Noticing all of the things that Beardbeard can do with his magic pirate ghost hands, Barry quickly wishes for fingers. It is a bad decision, made rashly. 

His wish comes true, but unfortunately the fingers he gets are fish-fingers, which all his fish friends find horrific and insane. For thirty pages, Barry swims around realising that being a fish with fish-fingers for fingers is completely unhelpful in the sea, because everything is slippery and there is nothing to really pick up or hold or throw or catch or squeeze. Trapped by his pride, however, Barry puts a brave face on his decision, even as it becomes increasingly apparent to all the fish around him that he has gained little useful dexterity in an ecosystem where all your body primarily needs to do is swim and wee. Barry gets increasingly unhinged, and secretly desires for nothing more than to return to his old life, free from the disappointing promises of magic. The book ends with the word Fin, which is an irony lost on its readership of early learners, aged four-to-six.

The book is an allegory for religion, but also teaches children not to rush.

Posted in judgeabook


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