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Review of “Papa’s Mechanical Fish” by Candace Fleming – Julia Aybar

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming

This book is based on the life of Lodner Phillips, an eccentric inventor. The story is told from his daughter Virena’s perspective. Although he is an inventor he has never created anything that works perfectly.  One day while the family is fishing on the Lake Michigan, his daughter asks, “have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?” Papa finds a wonderful idea for his next project.   He runs to his workshop and two weeks later, he is ready to show his new invention.  It’s an underwater vessel, a Mechanical Fish!  It has a tube sticking out the top so he can breathe and a pole sticking out the bottom so he can push himself along the lake floor.  But will it work?

I enjoyed this book.  While the story is fiction, it is based on true events.  It’s amazing to see how a child’s curiosity and her father’s persistence (and a little bit of craziness) can produce something so fantastic.  I like the fact that the whole family enjoys the invention.  After many improvements, the family takes an underwater trip in the Mechanical Fish.  It’s a great family adventure, a wonderful summer story that children and adults will enjoy. It’s fun.  The illustration is just brilliant, delightfully detailed.  I love how the illustration is so well connected to the text on every page.


Reading level:  Gr.2 and up

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