Sonata for Fish and Boy

by Milan Pavlovic (Author)

Sonata for Fish and Boy
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Music inspires friendship and a life full of dreams and adventure in this wordless picture book from Milan Pavlovic.

When a fish hears the singing of a violin, it is drawn out of the water and into the world of a young musician sitting on a shady bench. Soon fish and boy are flying over the rooftops together, past lively street musicians, a flock of birds, then from planet to planet, before landing back on earth for an idyllic afternoon in the park. In a forest of giant dandelions they discover a little house where a band plays cheerily, then, swept up by the wind, they tumble past a familiar-looking tree and bench, where the violin lies waiting to be played once more.

Milan Pavlovic's wordless picture book celebrates the joy to be found in music, friendship, dreams and adventure.

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Kirkus Reviews

A loving ode to art forms that transcends language. (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright 2021 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Music has the power to transform life into a vibrant and magical wonderland. A young boy plays his violin on a bench beside a canal, his tune reaching the ears of a fish swimming nearby. When the boy lies down to take a rest, the fish launches itself out of the water, inviting the boy to join him in a whimsical dreamscape. Together, the unlikely pair soars through the air, exploring the far reaches of the universe. Time seems to have no bounds, and their friendship lasts long after their adventure ends. Watercolor and pencil illustrations are the focal points of this wordless picture book. Muted colors give way to richly pigmented hues as the story shifts from reality to reverie, coming full circle by the end. The boy has light skin and lives in a community that includes people presenting many different skin tones. As the title suggests, the progression of this story feels as though it could be depicting a true musical score, encompassing joy and exploration in a beautiful arc. Musical notes appear on nearly every page, emphasizing the sounds emanating from instruments all along the journey. Colorful endpapers set the tone for this visual adventure, juxtaposing the soft lines within the book while emphasizing the many colors seen throughout the story. VERDICT This enjoyable, wordless story is a delightfully accessible tale for readers of all ages.--Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver P.L.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

A child and a fish form a lifelong bond over their mutual love of music in this transportive wordless picture book by Pavlovic´. Rendered in colored inks and pencils, the book opens in blue-accented grayscale with a smiling, big-eyed fish that's drawn to the surface by the sound of a child playing violin on a nearby bench. When the pale boy snuggles down for a nap, the fish floats out of the water and awakens him before, together, the duo flies over now vibrantly colored landscapes: past a trio of musicians entertaining dancers in a warm-toned town square; past crooning birds in shades of green, to bounce off planets in a cool-toned cosmos; and more. Returning to the opening palette, the book closes with the child as an older, cane-using figure, playing violin once again for the fish to jump into his arms. An inventive celebration of music, imagination, and friendship. Ages 3-7. (May)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Groundwood Books
Publication date
May 01, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
Library of Congress categories
Stories without words
Friendship in children

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