by G. Mandahl-Barth
But what I loved were the pictures. The first half of the book is full of color plates hand-painted by one N. Norvil, illustrating many popular species. At least, popular of the time! It was interesting to see which ones I could recognize and which have subtly changed shape or color over nearly five decades. Many which are deemed unpopular because of their particular habits, unattractive colors or difficulty in keeping are actually more familiar to me. Others I had never seen mention of at all, so those have obviously fallen out of favor by now. I was surprised to find that this book states emphatically that goldfish should never be kept in a round bowl, in fact it advises against keeping them indoors at all and says their only proper habitat is an outdoor pond. Nearly fifty years, what we still haven't learned.
In spite of the fact that the color plates occupy the first half of the book, and information on each species the end, it was easy to flip back and forth between them. Species info was very basic, often noted that this fish or that one had never been known to breed in captivity, whereas I know that's not the case for many of them today. Helpfully, all the plates and the species notes have corresponding numbers, so if you look a fish up in the index you simply have to find its numbered illustration or listing.
I featured a few images of the artwork out of this book at the end of this post.
Rating: 3/5 138 pages, 1966