Thursday, January 26, 2006

Big Al by Andrew Clements

Big Al
by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Yoshi
Ages 4-8
Topics, fish, friendship, appearances

Big Al has a problem – he’s really big and scary looking. Although there isn’t a nicer fish in the sea, Big Al can’t make a friend because all the other fish are afraid of him. He tries to disguise his size and looks, but nothing seems to work. One day, a fishing net captures the smaller fish and Big Al’s size allows him to save the day.

This story has a strong confidence-building message as Big Al realizes that he is unique, valuable, and special just as he is. When the important moment comes, Big Al forgets himself and his problems and acts. The other fish learn to appreciate Big Al despite his frightening looks, reminding that you can’t judge others solely on their appearance.

The striking underwater illustrations by Japanese artist Yoshi were created by combining painting and batik on silk. Big Al really is an unattractive brown puffy fish, surrounded by bright red, yellow, and orange fish.

Andrew Clements, a former teacher, writes picture books, early readers, and novels for middle graders. Big Al was his first book. He also collaborated with Yoshi on a sequel, Big Al and Shrimpy.

Buy Big Al at


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