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Parents' Guide to

The Fourteenth Goldfish

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Funny, sweet fountain-of-youth fantasy about growing wiser.

The Fourteenth Goldfish Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+


I bought this book from a book store bargain bin after seeing it in our school's LYRC section. I was not disappointed! The main character, Ellie, is a bright young lady who observes the world around her. When her grandfather shows up looking a bit "different" than she is used to, Ellie is swept away in a world of science and temptation. Throughout the book, Ellie uses her observations to make a series of choices. She learns from the less desirable ones, and makes a tough decision that could affect the future of the whole world. This book makes many references to historical figures, yet it relates to today's young reader. Children ages 8 and under might enjoy the book if they have an adult read it aloud, however, it is perfect for ages 9 and up.
age 10+


This is a great book that teaches students and readers to be loyal and responsible. Although once a crime is committed in the story, the characters realize what they have done and they try to fix it. This is a great book to read and enjoy!!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (7 ):

THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH is a sweetly written story about coping with change and growing older, infused with both joy and melancholy. Author Jennifer L. Holm, known for the Babymouse and Squish graphic novel series, gets into some weighty material here: the pain of growing old and letting go, scientific discovery as a double-edged sword, and the relationships between parents and children across the decades. But Holm keeps things light and easy by focusing on the positive: Where one thing ends, after all, something new begins.

Cantankerous Melvin is an especially enjoyable character, lighting up the narrative with comparatively placid Ellie as his foil. Even with a healthy willing suspension of disbelief, the story strains plausibility: An ordinary middle schooler would be mortified to be seen with Melvin, with his odd style of dress or grouchy demeanor. Instead of tween navel-gazing, Holm uses Ellie as analytical observer who often seems the most emotionally mature of the bunch.

Book Details

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