Monday, 24 January 2011


Manta Rays are actually very nice.

One Smart Fish

One Smart Fish
When I was young, I loved fish. I had lots of fish tanks in a garden shed, and went fishing most weekends. I drew pictures of fish all the time. I’ve always wanted to do a picture book about fish, but didn’t have a story – until this idea came along. The book's about a really smart fish. In this picture he’s beating all the other fish in the ocean at chess.
The pictures are drawn first on watercolour paper, then painted. Some of the fish are outlined in coloured pencil, while others – those I wanted to bring right to the foreground – are outlined in black ink

One Smart Fish, written and illustrated by Chris Wormell, received the Booktrust Early Years Award. His picture book tells the story of a fish who yearns to walk.

Mr Wormell said it was important for young children to learn about evolution.

"We have got to stand up for evolution. Lots of kids don't know about it, although there are quite a few who do, and when I do readings in schools a kid will always say, 'Are you telling me we all came from fish?' And it gets a great discussion going," he said.

"The kids are around five or six and it's really interesting having that conversation."

Richard Dawkins, the atheist academic, has called on the Coalition to make evolutionary theory a compulsory part of the curriculum. In June, he and 25 other signatories, including three Nobel laureates, wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove saying they were "deeply concerned that evolution and science form a core part of any revised primary curriculum".

Mr Wormell, 55, did not set out to write about evolution. He wanted to illustrate a book about fish "because they were one of my obsessions as a kid, when I collected fish in tanks. I had the idea of this very smart fish, and then I had the evolution idea - that the one thing this fish wants to do more than anything is walk on the land".

The book took three months to illustrate. "It took me a while because there are so many damn fish!" he said. "I was quite relieved when we got to the bit where the fish made it to dry land."

Evolutionary children's book/Macmillan Prize ?