How does one come to terms with the last days of a close friend? Seeing his best friend Goldfish beginning to fade, Fox decides the two of them have one more thing to do. They embark on an epic journey together to see the world, a bucket list journey of rediscovery and soaking up experiences. Thus, we see Fox and Goldfish sharing in the beauty of the world which they find together; filling their souls with simple joys – the ocean, a shower of rain, a perfect rainbow, the quiet of a forest, the majesty of a mountainscape. They thrill to a desert viewed from the back of a motorbike and zipping down snow covered slopes. Eventually, and aptly as the sun sets in glorious red and orange hues, Fox acknowledges the time has come for his friend to go.
With only two lines of text in the story, the pictures say everything. Rich and colourful illustrations depict the happy duo set in huge double page spreads which emphasise the grandeur of their surroundings. Their expressions as they make their way around the globe are delightful, with small details such as the helmeted goldfish bowl adding humour to the tale. Equally delightful and moving is the obvious love and caring bond shared by the two unlikely friends, showing how true friendship can transcend great differences.
Fox and Goldfish is the second book illustrated and written by Belgian creator Nils Pieters in his trademark vibrant pencil style. It is produced by Book Island, a publisher specialising in sourcing unique stories from Europe and translating them for English audiences, offering us new perspectives from a different culture.
A lovely visual reminder of what is important, Fox and Goldfish is a special book that is thought provoking and contemplative, and one to be shared with the special people in your life.
Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen
Fox and Goldfish
by Nils Pieters
Book Island UK 2016