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The Magic Gold Fish; A Russian Folktale by…
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The Magic Gold Fish; A Russian Folktale

by Demi

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Genre: Folktale
Summary: This story is a Russian Folk Tale of a man and his wife who find a gold fish. The man does not want for anything, but the wife wants everything and in her haste to get it, she goes too far and loses all the things she had recieved. She was never content in her life.

Critique: i believe this is a great fok tale with a great message and i would use it to teach about different folktales in different countries. it also has some great words/vocabulary that could be taught like Czar!

Grade: 2nd,3rd, 4th ( )
  debrasw | Feb 4, 2012 |
In this storybook, Demi retells Alexandr Pushkin's story of the magic goldfish, which is in its own right a retelling of the fisherman and the flounder. In any case, in this book, a poor fisherman finds a magic goldfish trapped in his nets. The fish promises him a ransom if the fisherman will set him free, but the fisherman has a kind heart, and lets the fish go without any price. When he gets home and tells his wife about his little adventure, she curses him and tells him to at least go back and ask for a new washtub. Reluctantly, the old man returns and asks the fish for a washtub. The fish happily grants his request, and the fisherman heads for home. But of course, his wife isn't satisfied, and she sends him back to ask for a cottage, then a castle, then a palace, then the czarina-ship, and then rule over all the seas. Each time the poor fisherman returns, the sea is wilder and wilder, though the fish remains willing and pleasant. At the last request, the fish sends the fisherman home, where he finds his old hovel and an angry wife.

This story teaches children not to be greedy. The wife cannot be satisfied, and in her greed, loses everything. Children will like hearing about how far the wife will push her husband and the fish, and the repetition of the story will help them remember it. The original story is from the Grimm's telling, and Pushkin turned it into a poem in the 1830's. This book doesn't really change the story, except to shallowly Russian-ize it, making the old woman a czarina instead of a queen for example.

For ages 6 - 10. ( )
  ALelliott | Nov 19, 2011 |
Demi uses a traditional Russian style of illustration to tell Aleksandr Pushkin's story, The Magic Goldfish.
  sderby | Jul 18, 2011 |
"The Magic Gold Fish" is a cautionary tale of greed. This Russian folk tale tells the story of a poor, king fisherman who catches a goldfish in his net. When the goldfish begs the man to free him, he is so astonished that he lets the goldfish go. The goldfish offers to pay him a ransom, but the old man refuses. When he tells his wife that he refused the ransom, she is angry, asking why he did not ask for at least a washtub, since theirs was falling apart. The old man goes back to the sea to ask for the washtub, which he is granted by the goldfish. The wife then sends him back four more times, asking for a house, to be a fine lady, to be a Czarina, and to be mistress of the seas with the goldfish as her servant. This last request proves too much for the goldfish, for when the old mad returns home, his wife, home, and washtub are back to what they were before he met the goldfish.

This was a beautifully-told story in prose. The line length held the story to a sing-song meter and the use of repetition appeals to young readers. The illustrations were of classic Russian motifs in gold-encrusted paintings. The caution about greed is driven home through the misuse of the goldfish's powers. The wife takes for granted the goldfish's generosity, thinking she's entitled to anything she wants, though she didn't earn in.

A great read-aloud for ages four and up. ( )
  SadieReads | Jul 28, 2010 |
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There once lived an old man and old wife by the shore of the deep blue ocean.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A poor fisherman's greedy wife is never satisfied with the wishes granted her by an enchanted fish. This version adapted from Louis Zelikoff's translation of Pushkin's The tale of the fisherman and the little fish.

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