Can you wiggle? Can you chomp?
March 25, 2015 10:17 AM   Subscribe

"Grandmother Fish is a book like no other I have seen"
We start with a delightfully drawn Grandmother Fish, who lived a long, long, long, long, long time ago and could wiggle and swim fast and had jaws to chomp with. At once, this is made personally relevant: "Can you wiggle? … Can you chomp?" We proceed by way of Grandmother Reptile, Grandmother Mammal and Grandmother Ape, to Grandmother Human, who lived a long time ago, could walk on two feet and talk and tell stories
posted by the man of twists and turns (11 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The Answers in Genesis review sold me. Putting it on the list for the small humans I know.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:52 AM on March 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I love the artwork.

The illustrations and joie de vivre of the text reminds me of hearing Native American creation myths being read out loud. Except, you know, it's science!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:34 AM on March 25, 2015

I want this, but not prepared to pay 50 $ ( 25 $ for international shipping).
posted by Omnomnom at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2015

Post above this: "Hip Hop Messiah"

Brain proceeds to read "Grandmother Fish" as "Grandmaster Flash".
posted by symbioid at 11:39 AM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

"If my grandma was a fish, then how come there are still whales? HUH???"
posted by symbioid at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

The illustrations are by Karen Lewis, who also illustrated Will It Blow?

video of Lewis
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:44 AM on March 25, 2015

The is the last link ( Is your grandmother a fish?) and for those who don't want to give them any traffic:
posted by zenon at 2:03 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

That 3quarksdaily review is great except all the funny things that are wrong: Tweet crowd funded the book "on Facebook" and wrote D&D 3rd edition, a "computer game."

Still, I like that this exists.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:53 PM on March 25, 2015

So, the kid's version of Anansi Boys?
posted by sneebler at 5:48 PM on March 25, 2015

Yes! This project is a perfect summation of the potential of Kickstarter for me. it combines three distinct aspects:
1. It's a product with a market the traditional channels are reluctant to serve
2. It offers a physical good of interest
3. It offers the creation of something important that would not otherwise exist in the world
Even though I don't know where the books will eventually go, I backed it for exactly these reasons.

Like one of the reviews, I've read the pdf copy and I think it is pitch perfect. My only hesitancy at all is in the advice to adults section and how they imply ways talk about evolution with young kids while avoiding explicit discussion of death. I'm not sure that's wrong, but I'm not sure that's right either. But, that's a super minor criticism about essentially one sentence in the whole thing. It is fun and beautiful, and I can't wait to hold it in my hands.
posted by meinvt at 7:35 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hi! I am a person who shares books and STEM with preschoolers for a living. I had not heard of this book until now, so I signed up to look at the draft. I have mixed feelings. It certainly looks fine. I just feel like the literal-mindedness of preschoolers will get in the way of the message. Children will hear that the fish "had many children" and look at the picture and think that the fish was a mommy to the shark and the lobe fish and the reptile. And the picture doesn't show any incremental changes, so it's hard to explain that some of her children's children's children became sharks, but some of them became reptiles. You all already understand how evolution works, but trust me, I spend a great deal of my time writing STEM lesson plans for 3-5 year olds. This is a super abstract concept. "Humans are related to Apes" is tough. "Everything descended from fish" is tougher. (I see the author acknowledges this in the end note, but maybe he could have just written a book for children developmentally prepared to understand the topic)
Even the way the new traits are presented at each stage is vague. 3 year olds don't necessarily know that fish don't breathe air. They don't necessarily know that reptiles don't feed their babies milk. Some of them might be very surprised to learn that none of the other characters tells stories like the human. Speaking of which, calling that character "grandmother" would also be confusing. She is obviously a mommy. Grandmas don't look like that. I know what the authors are trying to do. They're aiming for some kind of secular creation story. But kids know that's a mommy.
Oh, and what is up with the animals on the mammals page? Some of them represent an order, some a family, some a species. This is sloppy.
I absolutely can't imagine sharing this book in a group setting. I would have to do too much explaining on every page. And there would absolutely no narrative flow. So I don't think it can stand alone as a picture book. And I don't think it can stand alone as a science book. Once kids are old enough to grasp the central premise of evolution there are plenty of appropriate books on the topic.
posted by Biblio at 10:49 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

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