Ellie is a normal 11-year-old girl; she has a best friend, loving home, and pet goldfish named Goldie. She also happens to have a mad scientist who’s fascinated with immortality as a grandfather. In “The Fourteenth Goldfish,” by Jennifer L. Holm, Ellie’s world is turned upside down when her grandfather appears at the door, but not as she knows him. Rather, he’s a 14 year old boy.
Ellie’s grandfather explains that with the use of a special jellyfish, he’s reversed the aging process in himself and takes up the cover of Ellie’s cousin, Melvin. Throughout the time spent with her grandfather, Ellie learns what it means to be a scientist. Enlisting the help of an unlikely friend, they go on a mission to rescue the jellyfish, in hopes of changing the world.
In a heartwarming story, Holm not only educates people about science and the world itself, but also tells a story that embraces discovery and adventure. It’s a significant book with wonderful use of metaphor, especially through the goldfish.
I thought the book was interesting, but the blurb listed on the inside cover is misleading as to what to expect and the plot is a bit lacking. Some parts of the story don’t really make sense. The story contains many high level and important concepts about the world, as well as vocabulary, so I’d recommend it for 10-12 year olds who have an interest in science. Overall, it’s a good read, but may not be for everyone.