________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 15. . . .December 13, 2013


Goldeye and Funnyfin.

Fannie Kahan. Illustrated by Sharon Kahan.
Regina, SK: Wild Sage Press, 2013.
64 pp., pbk., $25.00.
ISBN 978-0-9881229-4-9.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

** /4



Goldeye and Funnyfin were friends who lived together in a little hollow in the coral reef. Goldeye was called Goldeye because she had a golden eye that shone like the sun. Funnyfin was called Funnyfin because he had a funny fin right on the top of his head.

One day Goldeye said to Funnyfin, “Let’s build a house.”

“Fish don’t live in houses,” said Funnyfin.

“That doesn’t matter,” said Goldeye. “We can live in a house if we want to.”


Goldeye and Funnyfin are two curious fish who like to explore the ocean around them, discovering treasures and meeting new friends along the way. Divided into eight chapters, the story of Goldeye and Funnyfin contains two separate adventures. First, there is the story of the friends’ search for a suitable house, a task that introduces them to Willa, a whale with a talent for building homes out of seashells. Once their new house is built, Goldeye and Funnyfin set out in search of an unusual fish who is rumoured to be magnificent and who is well guarded by an assortment of odd creatures.

internal art     This collection of stories was written by Fannie Kahan who created the tales of Goldeye and Funnyfin to entertain her children. Before she passed away, Fannie wrote the stories down, and her daughters decided to put them into print. Sharon Kahan, one of Fannie’s children, created the vibrant watercolour illustrations to accompany the tales. The result is a printed edition of the family’s treasured stories, brought together in a single narrative and accented with lively, colourful pictures. Some readers will delight in the somewhat silly adventures of these two fishy friends, though Goldeye and Funnyfin may not suit the tastes of everyone.

     There is a considerable amount of text in this collection, and because the illustrations do not always match what is happening in the text, it may be difficult for some readers to attempt these stories on their own. Since both the story and accompanying illustrations are mostly nonsensical, readers may also struggle to completely understand the sequence of events, or make predictions about what will happen next. For instance, sometimes Goldeye and Funnyfin meet with real-life sea creatures, such as Sammy the Swordfish and Octavia the Octopus, but on other occasions, they interact with completely fantastical beings, like the magnificent grinning fish. The creatures also partake in certain activities like reading books and wearing sunglasses, activities which are not realistic and may be confusing for those trying to make sense of the world these characters live in.

     Goldeye and Funnyfin takes readers alongside the adventures of two small fish living in the big sea. The love and dedication the Kahan family showed in making this collection of cherished childhood tales available for a wider audience is endearing, and some readers will enjoy the funny characters and happy mishaps of these golden-eyed and funny-finned friends.


Meredith Cleversey is a librarian in Cambridge, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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