Book Review: Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Barnacle is Bored is a picturebook by Jonathan Fenske. Barnacle is stuck on the underside of a pier, wishing he had something to do. Every day is exactly the same. The tide comes in and Barnacle gets cold and wet. The tide goes out and Barnacle dries off. Boring! Barnacle wants something EXCITING to happen. Then a colorful fish swims by. Barnacle bets the fish doesn't have a boring life. In the end, it turns out exciting isn't always better. 

Barnacle is Bored is a fun picture book with simple but interesting illustrations. The life of a barnacle is fairly uninteresting. There is water, then there isn’t. The sun rises and sets. You just sit there attached to something and watch the world go by. This particular barnacle is envious of the marine life around him, those that can move under their own power, until he sees first hand how the circle of life works, and realizes that his life might not be all the exciting, but it is much safer.


While at first I was smiling and enjoyed the book. Now that I am writing the review I am not sure that I really like that message. I like the idea of being happy with who you are, and what you can do. I do not think I like a secondary message that others might take from this, that sitting on the sidelines is better than going out into the world and taking chances. So, if you want a cute picture book to read and think the young people you might share this with will grasp the first message then I recommend this book. If you have an anxious child and think they might grasp the wait in the wings message, then you might want to either hold off or make sure you discuss both messages with them and encourage them to be safe, but not to miss out on taking chances and exploring the world.  
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