When Evan came today, I read him a new book: This Is a Poem that Heals Fish, by Jean-Pierre Siméon, illustrated by Olivier Tallec. In the story, Oliver’s fish is dying of boredom, and Oliver’s mother is in a hurry to get to her tuba lesson, so she advises Oliver to give the fish a poem. Then Oliver asks everyone he knows, “What is a poem?”
He gets some wonderful answers. Lolo in the bicycle shop says it’s when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth. Mrs. Round, the baker, says a poem is hot like fresh bread. My favorite answer comes from old Mahmoud, who comes from the desert: “A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone.”
In the end, Oliver’s poem heals his fish, and they swim off together in Oliver’s imagination.
After I read Evan the book, he told me solemnly and confidentially, “Sometimes a fish don’t get well. One day Bella’s fish was swimming upside down, and then Mama take the fish in the bathroom and she disappeared. I think she died, but don’t tell Mama because it make her sad.”
Last year, same place.