It was Brigitte Sidjanski, the founder and former reader of North- South, who asked me in the first years of our collaboration again and again to do something similar, like my first book “The Sleepy  Owl”. This book had been published in 1986 and Brigitte really enjoyed it. But what did it mean to make a similar book? A sequel was impossible - so the story had to be a completely different one. The technique of the illustrations and some artistic details could have been adopted - but what else? If the book should have something in common with “The Sleepy Owl”, the character had to resemble to this bird. I didn’t want to draw another bird, but which other animal could look like a bird? I couldn’t come up with a solution to this problem and I wanted to abandon the project once more, when one day by chance, “The Sleepy Owl” was lying next to my desk. That was it! The typical, stylised bird feathers became scales and the colorful owl became a colorful fish. In the end this was the only thing that these two books had in common - at this moment, the “Rainbow Fish” was born. Starting with this multicolored fish, I developed the idea to make it the most beautiful fish in the entire ocean. In the beginning still proud and really vain, and then the lonely fish experiences the joy of sharing. If his dress, of colorful scales, would have remained the only particularity of the Rainbow Fish, all the other fish would have to be grey and pale. Therefore I looked for another distinctive characteristic for my leading character. I wanted to be able to distinguish him from the others and to underline the value and uniqueness of the shiny scales he presents to the others. Holographic foil stamping seemed to me to be the ideal solution. I knew this technique from my work as a graphic designer. The shiny effects completed the story in a wonderful manner and made the feelings of Rainbow Fish really understandable to children and parents. To give away just a co- lored scale would not have been that spectacular. But giving away really sparkling scales - that was something else! I guess the foil for children was just beautiful and attractive, whereas for adults it symbolized money and richness. Now it was up to the editor to settle all the technical details. The costs of production were, in the end, almost double that of a nor- mal picture book. However my former editor, Davy Sidjanski, deci- ded to take the risk and to publish the book with the shiny foil. Even with all the technical problems that had to be solved and the cost of production no one expected the extraordinary success of the book that was to come. I was just happy, that it was possible to print my book in the way I imagined from the beginning. But soon it became clear, that the first printing of 30’000 copies wouldn’t be enough. And so the 30’000 copies rose to more than 3 millions in the first three years, due to the huge support of teachers, booksellers, parents and children all over the world. Back to the top Rainbow Fish has no political message. The story only wants to show us the joy of sharing. We all enjoy making presents for Holidays or birthdays and the warm feeling it gives us when we do so. I want to show children the positive aspect of sharing: To share does not only mean to give away something (what is quite hard for a child), but above all to make someone else happy– and themselves happy by doing it.