Fish Soup

Children’s Book by Ursula Le Guin, published 1992

“There was a man called the Thinking Man of Moha, and there was a woman called the Writing Woman of Maho, and they were friends.”

Fish Soup Children's bookThus begins this very small, almost silly children’s book by Ursula Le Guin. I read it in one gulp, and wondered if it was worthy of being called literature! And yet… this tiny book makes one very small, but important point, that is so profound, you wonder that Le Guin could make the point in so few (32) pages! So I decided it is worthy of being listed here as literature. A well-structured, engaging piece of writing that little ones will enjoy, and adults will chuckle over.

As with Le Guin’s other children’s books, such as the Catwings series, the imaginative is deftly woven with the mundane, so you can easily slide from real to unreal without blinking an eye. In this case, the man and woman are quite real, with very descriptive portraits of their various strengths and weaknesses, and the two children are quite imaginative. There’s not that much of a plot, really. But for a young attention span, say five-year-olds, it’s a perfect little bedtime book.

Enjoy a small diversion. (Although it may be hard to get, but look for a used copy of this excellent children’s book.) And I won’t give away the profound point it makes, but the hint is this: are we conscious of our expectations of others, and how that might affect them?