The Rainbow Fish

Is Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish a nice little story about sharing, or is it the disturbing tale of an aquatic dystopia in which bullying is the preferred tactic to enforce absolute conformity? Join us for an episode that will make you realize for the first time that you’ve been reading a book about the worst possible form of communism.

Activity: Should Government Be Involved?

Have students fold a piece of paper into thirds to create three columns. At the top of the columns write “always,” “sometimes,” and “never.” List various aspects of public and private life, such as education, marriage, parenting, transportation, health care, banking, dietary choices, product safety, imports and exports, the environment, careers, public safety, and so on. Have students write which things should always, sometimes, or never be regulated by the government they live under. Do not influence the students by telling them where you would place a certain item, but do ask questions that encourage them to think thoroughly about where they would place a certain topic and why. Encourage students to think about how not all societies are the same, and how something that works in one political setting may not work in another due to factors like demographics, population size, the level of economic development, and available financial and material resources. Remind students that their views may change over time, and it’s good to think about these issues from time to time.