New York Times Bestseller

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Goldfish on Vacation

Find friendship and beauty wherever you are

by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Looking for a fun story to get imaginations going?

From New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones and rising-star illustrator Leo Espinosa comes a humorous tale based on an amazing-but-true story about the summer a city fountain was used as a goldfish pond.

H, Little O, and Baby Em are stuck in the city for the summer with only their pet goldfish—Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss—for company. It’s looking like it might be a pretty boring vacation, but one day, something exciting happens. Someone starts fixing up the old fountain down the street—the one Grandpa says horses used to drink from before everyone had cars—and a sign appears: “Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home.” H, Little O, and Baby Em can’t wait to send their goldfish on vacation, and the fish, well, they seem pretty excited too. Based on the true story of Hamilton Fountain in New York City, this charming tale of one special summer will delight readers young and old. Author’s Note included.

Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Leo Espinosa


Recognition

junior library guild pick

Reviews

A charming, gently humorous, accessible story based on a real-life occurrence that’s sure to capture the imaginations of young readers and listeners alike.” –Kirkus

Nostalgia infuses Lloyd-Jones’s tale of childhood summer innocence and Espinosa’s retro digital illustrations. His New York City, with its diverse community of residents set against a graphic cityscape, recalls the work of M. Sasek.” –Publishers Weekly

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“Where do fish go during vacations? It seems as though it’s going to be an ordinary summer for three white children (named H, Little O, and Baby Em), their grandfather, and their goldfish (named Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss)—until a sign appears outside an abandoned nearby fountain that changes everything. “COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL GOLDFISH LOOKING FOR A SUMMER HOME,” it says. Soon a man comes to clean and landscape the fountain, and not long after that, it’s time for the neighborhood children to drop off their fishy charges! Clear, jovial text and appealing, retro-styled illustrations rendered in pencil and Photoshop portray a diverse New York neighborhood full of youngsters, many of whom spend a summer eagerly visiting their pets and listening to Grandpa’s stories of summers past. Before the kids know, it, summer has ended, and it’s time to find their fish (Are they sure they have the right ones? Grandpa seems to know…), and the adventure is over until next year. “Anyway, who says you have to leave the city to have a vacation?” asks Grandpa. An author’s note reveals that for 13 years many of New York City’s goldfish actually went on vacation in Hamilton Fountain before its 2009 restoration. A charming, gently humorous, accessible story based on a real-life occurrence that’s sure to capture the imaginations of young readers and listeners alike. (Picture book. 3-6)”–Kirkus

“Lloyd-Jones (His Royal Highness, King Baby) takes inspiration from the charming true story of a New York City fountain that became a summer “retreat” for goldfish for more than a decade. After three children find a sign on a derelict fountain—“Coming in Two Weeks! Calling All Goldfish Looking for a Summer Home”—they run home to share the news with their grandfather and three fish. When the day finally arrives, the once-forlorn fountain has been transformed into a locus for neighborhood children who while away the summer playing and listening to Grandpa’s yarns of times past. Anxious readers may wonder how the kids will reclaim their own fish, and at summer’s end the children remark how different their pets look. “Of course!” says Grandpa. “That’s what a vacation will do for you!” Nostalgia infuses Lloyd-Jones’s tale of childhood summer innocence and Espinosa’s retro digital illustrations. His New York City, with its diverse community of residents set against a graphic cityscape, recalls the work of M. Sasek. A closing note details the fountain’s real-life history. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)”–Publishers Weekly

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