The Sturgeon General and the Catfish

Genre: Children’s Fiction Fish adventure 9945 words.


Catfish was the only catfish to be taken to the secret part of the ocean, and now, she needs her Momma Cat. Momma Cat is the one fish able to teach her the ’catfish dance’ and without it she can’t hope to find a husband. Catfish knows she must learn the dance soon before her skin loses its shine and her whiskers grow droopy.

In order to get Momma Cat into these secret waters Catfish requires the Sturgeon General to sign the permissions papers. But, the only fish who knows how to find the Sturgeon General happens to be the pesky Tadpole. Finally, Catfish is resigned to having to endure his annoying ways and refusal to speak to her. She knows Tadpole thinks she’ll eat him. But why would she?

A little fish is always quite delicious but a little tadpole who is almost a green froggy thing certainly is not! So, Catfish sets out to persuade him he is safe. After much coaxing reluctantly, he gives her the information she requires and, Catfish sets off on an adventure. Or, it is an adventure until she nears the entrance to the Sturgeon General’s cave and the Bass guards decide she looks like ‘good eating’. Catfish only just escapes with her whiskers.

It is the beautiful Angelfish who  rescues her. Angelfish just happens to be the Sturgeons General’s secretary. And, after Catfish praises the beautiful Angelfish fish several times, Angelfish agrees to help her get an audience with the Sturgeon General. However, the path to his door is fraught with danger. When finally, she meets the Sturgeon General she is dismayed to see he is a large, daunting fish that is not interesting in talking to a little catfish at all. He only remains not interested, however, until he discovers Catfish wants to learn the catfish dance from Momma Cat.

Suddenly, she has his full attention and in the blink of a fish eye, Momma Cat arrives and the dance is learned and mastered. Catfish suddenly finds herself a husband and they all live happily ever after…until….


The Sturgeon General & the Catfish is author Mary Barr’s latest allegory for children 7–10 years.  It is filled with fun, adventure, quirky fishes and tells the tale of a sweet heroine’s journey in search of ritual and belonging.

That’s a lot to cram into a small book, but Mary Barr accomplishes it with her usual aplomb and artistry. Barr has a way with writing for children that teaches, entertains and engages, so that children walk away satisfied and wanting more.

The Sturgeon General & the Catfish is just one more little gems from the pen of a natural storyteller and a truly gifted writer of children’s literature.

Jeff Lyons: Producer, author.