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Arlene sardine by Christopher Raschka

Arlene sardine (edition 1998)

by Christopher Raschka

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Title:Arlene sardine
Authors:Christopher Raschka
Info:New York : Orchard Books, c1998.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Easy, Fiction, Death

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Arlene Sardine by Chris Raschka



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Arlene is a tiny fish who would like to be a sardine one day. The narrator walks the reader through the process of how Arlene turns into a sardine. At first, Arlene is in the ocean with tons of other fish just like her. Then she gets caught in a net and is put into an ice chest on a boat. Since she is out of the water, Arlene ends up dying, but the story continues. The narrator then tells the reader about how Arlene is processed and packaged into a sardine container. This book has caused some controversy because some people believe it is about depression and having thoughts of suicide since Arlene wanted to become a sardine, which would involve her dying. I did not get this from the book until I saw the critiques of it. Looking back no, I can kind of see that in this story, but I do not think children would get that message from reading this story. ( )
  krista_patman | Mar 19, 2017 |
Loved Raschka's visual appeal - the cover is so clever, and the vibrant illustrations match Arlene's sweet vitality for life. I think the story activates discussion on vocabulary - readers need to understand what a sardine is (a dead fish) and can then start to anticipate that by wishing to be one, Arlene is in for quite the surprise. Although she is happy once she achieves sardine-status, is it worth it to become something she truly is not? ( )
  jcarroll12 | Jul 27, 2014 |
Arlene is a fish who dreams of becoming a sardine, but does she really know what that means?

Another great tale by Chris Raschka, this colorful book could be used to discuss the idea of death with children. ( )
  lbblackwell | Jul 26, 2014 |
Once again Chris Raschka uses brightly colored illustrations to aid in this sad yet actually lovely story of a fish who wishes to become a sardine. Arlene is unaware that achieving this goal means she will die, but in the end she has accomplished her goal. This could generate great discussions by readers who will certainly interpret the meaning/lesson in various ways. ( )
  KMClark | Jul 17, 2014 |
Arlene wants to be a sardine, but doesn't seem to understand what the process entails (namely her own death). The matter-of-fact presentation of Arlene's demise is set against an eerily cheery backdrop of colorful cartoon-esque drawings. Raschka's meaning is left open to interpretation making this a choice for a wide range of audience. Strange, but somehow endearing at the same time. I think this text generates lots of questions for readers who are capable of reading between the lines of the fish nets. ( )
  Desirichter | Jul 3, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0531301117, Hardcover)

"So you want to be a sardine." Although not every reader will personally relate to the opening presumption of Chris Raschka's Arlene Sardine, all will appreciate his lively approach to the humble story of an unsung heroine. Arlene starts out as a little fish who knows exactly what color her parachute is--the slippery gray-green of a sardine. Her career takes off when she and a few of her "ten hundred thousand friends" are caught in a purse net and thrown onto the deck of a fishing boat. After taking her last gilled gasp, Arlene is sorted, salted, smoked, packed in oil, et voilà, her dream has come true!

While some adults may read this tale as either a morbid take on the traditional fish story or a thinly veiled call to vegetarianism, it is intended to be neither. Grownups occasionally need reminding that for children, the concept of death is not nearly so fraught with fear and panic and heartache as it is for adults. Arlene isn't much bothered by it either. She knows that sardines are, by definition, dead fish--she simply marks her target and shoots for it.

Raschka earned a Caldecott Honor for Yo! Yes?, and his Mysterious Thelonious garnered acclaim as the New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of 1997. In Arlene Sardine, he uses exuberant pastel watercolors and bold, abstract strokes to bring the undersea world alive (and keep it kicking even after the sea life is dead). His text is typically minimal and musical: "Then she was smoked, delicately. She was delicately smoked. Delicately smoked was she." Children will enjoy this matter-of-fact yet playful telling of one tiny fish's journey to sardinehood (and in the process discover words like fjord, thronging, and hermetically), and parents may also learn a thing or two by loosening up and swimming along for the ride. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:20 -0400)

Follows the short life of Arlene, from brisling to canned sardine.

(summary from another edition)

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