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'The Rainbow Fish' Hopes to Hook Eastchester Kids

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Pupils at Waverly Elementary School were taught many valuable lessons on Thursday morning, when the ArtsPower National Touring Theatre performed a rendition of Marcus Pfister’s book, “The Rainbow Fish.”

The performers used elaborate sets and colorful costumes in the school gym to bring the best-selling children’s book to life for kindergarten and first-grade pupils.

Theo Sakalis, co-chair of the PTA's cultural arts committee, said that the show was geared to both teach life lessons and encourage education outside of the classroom.

“It was very visually compelling, and had some positive themes that are relevant to their socialization. It helps bring the book to life,” she said. “We’re hoping it encourages the students to read more, now that they’ve seen how exciting the characters can be when they’re brought to life.”

The story centers around a self-absorbed Rainbow Fish who goes on a journey through the sea, learning important lessons along the way about feelings, relationships and friendships. The fish eventually has a self-realization and understands that the best way to make oneself happy is to make others around you happy.

The audience of captivated children gasped with each set change, and by the end of the show, the pupils were participating in the “magic mirror” chant with the cast.

“There are a lot of universal themes in “The Rainbow Fish,” said Kimberly Cinguina, committee co-chair said. “It’s important to share talents and to compromise. We also want them to think about their own friendships and relationships.”

The show featured a variety of musical numbers, from a 50s rock ‘n’ roll number in front of a malt shop set, to a gospel song when the Rainbow Fish reaches her destination, the wise old Octopus.

The PTA plans to continue bringing similar shows to the school to further encourage reading.

"The concept is something we’re going to continue; the idea of bringing a book to life,” Sakalis said. “The hope is that they will go home and either read “The Rainbow Fish,” or ask their parents to read it with them. We support anything that encourages reading.”

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