Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Little Red Fish

Written by James Moffitt
Illustrated by Bizhan Khodabandeh

As a historian, I have always found that the Iranian Revolution to be one of the most interesting turning points of the 20th century. This revolution was influential on how Middle Eastern politics functions and how the rest of the world reacts to it in particular with how U.S. Foreign policy was shaped after WWII. As a part time educator, my dilemma was trying to convey this event to my younger students with boring them. Through Rosarium Publishing, the reader is introduced to “The Little Red Fish” by James Moffitt.

Moffitt tells the story of an aquatic reef where the fish are harshly governed by heron. There is constant surveillance of the fish by their masters. The fish swim about in an atmosphere thick with fear. It seems as if every facet of their lives is controlled and monitored. It seems all hope is lost until Manuchehr the Hawk arrives. As Manuchehr interacts with the fish, the Heron scheme.

The reader learns that Manuchehr was once a fish. The fish openly discuss revolution with him around. Manuchehr inspires them. Although he warns them that they have to change before revolting against the heron, the fish still speak openly. Soon the heron attack Manuchehr in a fight to the death.

While the story is very abstract, the basic elements that made the backdrop of the Iranian revolution are there. The opening scene takes place at a local market. In many countries like Iran, the market is a place where everyone gets to exchange information and interact with one another. I enjoyed the fact that Moffitt jumped right into the story without the need to narrate the background. This added much mystery to the story and allowed the reader to become a part of the community. The concept of community is found throughout the story as we see the fish act together when making a decision.

The illustrations by Bizhan Khodabandeh are amazing. The details are vivid right down to the barnacles found on the rafters where the fish live. When Manuchehr shows up, Khodabandeh wastes nothing to protray how his presence easily inspires his compatriots. The reader cannot help to quickly see Manuchehr as the warrior he truly is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story so much that I read it over and over. For any social studies teacher, this book would be ideal to introduce the story of the Iranian revolution. I think any avid comic book fan would enjoy the story even if they knew nothing about that part of history. As a parent, I can see this as a tool to bring one's children into the discussion. I find that “The Little Red Fish” has something for everybody. Rosarium Publishing picked another winner.

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