April the Red Goldfish

Author: Marjolaine Leray
Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Age: 6+ / Adult gift
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 9781907912405
Publication Date: 01-04-2014
Format: Hb, 200mm x 200mm x 10mm
Extent: 40 pages

From the creator of Little Red Hood...

Meet April. A young goldifsh seeking worldy adventures. And the meaning of life.

April doesn’t have an easy time of being a goldfish, not least because she is in fact a red fish. A teenager plagued with angst and boredom, April spins round and round in her tank, dreaming of exotic adventures and exciting meetings, while philosophising Hamlet style on life’s big questions. But how will she ever escape from her glass prison? And where to? Outside, a black cat is waiting for her and a battle of wits ensues. Who will pull off the ultimate April fool?

Marjolaine Leray’s iconic red scribbles are back! From the same author-illustrator as the best-selling and much reviewed Little Red Hood, comes this exceptionally clever, witty and oh so stylish tale of a young fish's search for meaning of life and what means to be trapped in one's own goldfish bowl.

April the Red Goldfish is not a book for very young children; it is a picturebook for older children with huge crossover teenage / adult gift appeal. For any young person desperate to fly the nest or about to embark on their first solo travels, this little fish could be the perfect gift.

Sample pages



Philosophical and about overcoming. A wide-eyed goldfish, April, is "searching for the meaning of life". She is having some existential difficulties, described in loopy French handwriting. There is a particularly comic spread in which April, fearing that life has no meaning, contemplates rows of empty goldfish bowls, with a fish skeleton at the bottom of the last one. Leray's piquant wit is everywhere and when April dreams of taming wild animals, the beast on show is, plainly, a yellow rubber duck. (For tormented sophisticates of all ages.)

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Surreal, scribbled account of teen goldfish's angst-ridden rebellion. Disconcertingly funny.  

Imogen Russel Williams, Metro

The story of this soul-searching goldfish is witty and droll, particularly because goldfish are often seen as the most insignificant and pointless pets. This yearning to break the mould of expectations is a recurrent theme in Leray’s work, as is her minimalist palette, predominantly of red and black and her scribbly artwork. But as a picturebook for older readers, it will undoubtedly speak to those teens who feel that they are not completely comfortable with their place in the world and are yearning for something more. 
Yes, sometimes it is verging on the absurd and is a bit “out there”, but it is also sophisticated and full of hope, and so I doubt April the Red Goldfish will leave you impassive.

Library Mice

An expressively drawn, very red story about a gloomy goldfish, with some fine jokes.

Lorna Bradbury, The Telegraph

Marjolaine Leray returns with her trademark red scribbles in this exceptionally clever, witty and stylish tale of a young fish’s search for the meaning of life and what it means to be trapped in one’s own goldfish bowl.

Lancashire Evening Post

April The Red Goldfish is a wickedly funny tale, crammed full of wit and personality... A triumph.

The Illustrated Forest

About the Author and Translator:

Marjolaine Leray was born in 1984 in a small village in the Loire-Atlantique. She moved to Paris and studied visual communication at the Duperré School of Art and is now a graphic designer.

Sarah Ardizzone was born in Brussels. She studied theatre in Paris and now lives in London. As a travel writer, her assignments included sailing half-way across the world on a cargo ship. Sarah has translated over 40 books for children and grown-ups, including Little Red Hood and Line of Fire for Phoenix Yard Books.

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