Ten Scared Fish is a counting book, 1 to 10, but it’s also an introduction to some fish and some animals the fish might encounter in their travels. The text follows the journey of fish from the waterhole to the sea. Along the way, there are hazards, but the fish keep on swimming. Illustrations are bold colours and simple shapes, combining traditional dot painting with more representational-style images. The cover hints at the final opening, but it would be interesting to see how many readers work it out on first reading. The final opening has the story translated into Yanyuwa language.
Part of the income from sales of Ten Scared Fish will support indigenous preschool literacy programs. It’s a lovely counting book with a simple story. It’s easy to imagine it being used with very young children to open discussion about many things. First there’s the counting, then there’s the landscape and some of its occupants. And there’s also the opportunity to begin the story of this land’s oldest inhabitants and their storytelling. Recommended for preschoolers.
Ten Scared Fish, Ros Moriarty ill Balarinji
Allen & Unwin 2012
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author