“The Adventures of Oliver the Clownfish: Acting Cool” by Stephanie Guzman

“The Adventures of Oliver the Clownfish: Acting Cool” by Stephanie Guzman 970 1024 Reader Views Kids

The Adventures of Oliver the Clownfish

Stephanie Guzman
Not So Plain Jane Publishing (2023)
ISBN: 978-1596640191
Reviewed by Lydia (age 9) and Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (12/2023)

“The Adventures of Oliver the Clownfish” is a new series I just discovered; three books in all – “Invitation Slip-Up,” “Sticky Fins,” and “Acting Cool.” The main character is a clownfish, like the kind of fish in “Finding Nemo.” Oliver has a best bud named Paul, and they go to school at Fish Tale Elementary in the third grade.

In “Acting Cool,” it’s summertime – the friends are playing in the ocean and meet a new student, Dolly the Dolphin. At first, the friends aren’t sure what to think about her; she has bright yellow hair and shapes all over her body – much different than any other fish in their school. Dolly is a lot of fun, and the three quickly become friends. When school starts, Sally the Seahorse says things about Dolly, false statements because she doesn’t even know Dolly. Whose side will the friends take – Sally, whom they’ve known for a long time, or Dolly, someone they just met?

“Acting Cool” is an enjoyable read because the story is easy to understand, with the characters being around my age and going through situations I read about in other books and experience personally. I know what Dolly went through doesn’t feel good, so I was thankful for a happy ending that I could also understand because I pray and ask God for help when I need it. I like the ten facts about dolphins at the beginning of the book – I enjoy learning about all kinds of animals. The illustrations are colorful and caught my eye, and with words only on one side of each page, it doesn’t seem too long.  

Note from Mom: “Acting Cool” is an appropriate story for any age, given the situation is relevant among all age groups; however, the simplicity of this story makes it likely to be more widely accepted among younger readers. “Acting Cool” is the classic of not giving in to peer pressure, thinking for yourself, and making your own decisions based on what you feel and know is best; these stories are uncommonly from a Christian perspective, which I believe helps drive home the moral more strongly. Oliver and Paul don’t realize how easy it is to fall into peer pressure, much like every reader out there; before they know it, they find themselves siding with someone louder and more vocal than the other – all for the sake of popularity and “fitting in.” 

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