Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home New Picture Books in 2008 (First Word Q-Z) The Fisherman and His Wife / by Rachel Isadora

The Fisherman and His Wife / by Rachel Isadora


Title:  The Fisherman and His Wife
Author:  Retold by Rachel Isadora
Illustrator:  Rachel Isadora
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN:  978-0-399-24771-2
Year:  2008
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level:  3.6

Concepts:  wants and needs

Review:  Using an African-themed setting that includes striking fabric designs, Rachel Isadora retells the classic Brothers Grimm tale about a hapless fisherman and his greedy wife.  When the fisherman is surprised to catch a talking flounder, he consents to its request for release back to the sea.  The wife, upset that her husband came home with no fish to cook for dinner, insisted that he go back and ask the magical fish to grant them a wish. 

What started out as a reasonable wish to replace their dilapidated and stinky shack with a new hut that they genuinely needed, turned into a subsequent set of wishes for increasingly grandiose positions of wealth and power.  The more unreasonable the wishes became, that’s the darker and angrier the stormy sea grew, until the wife’s final extravagant and impossible wish led them back to their original situation in the dilapidated shack.  This book serves as a nice vehicle for teaching about the difference between wants and needs and the potential pitfalls of allowing the pursuit of wants to escalate.

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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