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About the book
  • Published: 29 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771159
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99

I Am Jellyfish


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A captivating and award-winning bedtime story by picture book creator Ruth Paul, with luminous illustrations, language evocative of the deep blue sea - and a big surprise when you turn out the lights.

Winner - Best Picture Book
New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2018
Chased to the depths of the bottomless blue,
What does a tiny Jellyfish do?

Jellyfish is quietly crooning in the shallows, when knife-nosed Swordfish swooshes, races and chases her, down, down, down, deep into the dark blue sea.

At that moment, stealthy Squid stretches a tentacle, tussling and tossing Swordfish in the darkness.

Who will help Swordfish? He makes a last wish...

Then ...

ON goes a light - it's Jellyfish!

This delightfully funny bedtime story by an award-winning writer and illustrator has a glow-in-the-dark cover for kids to discover once the lights are turned out.

  • Pub date: 29 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9780143771159
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Ruth Paul

Ruth Paul lives in an off-grid, straw-bale house on a farm just outside Wellington, New Zealand. As well as writing and illustrating children's picture books, Ruth has worked as a costume illustrator for Peter Jackson movies. She has two teenaged sons and is actively involved in her local community, having previously chaired her local Community Board and School Board of Trustees. Over the years, Ruth achieved a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from Victoria University, a Diploma in Visual Communication Design from Wellington Polytech (now Massey University), and most of a law degree.


Ruth started writing and illustrating her own picture books in 2004, and has created over 15 titles. The King's Bubbles won the NZ Post Children's Choice picture book award in 2008, and three of her books have made the Storylines Notable Book list over the years. Stomp was a finalist in the NZ Post Book Awards 2012, and Bad Dog Flash was selected for the US Kid's Indie Next List in 2014. I Am Jellyfish, a literally luminous story with its glow-in-the-dark cover, won Best Picture Book at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2018. The judges were full of praise, noting that ‘The text and illustration perfectly complement each other in this humour-filled tale of small but mighty…This is a book for all the unsung small heroes and it will be giggled over and read again and again.’

In 2019, Ruth was made an Arts Foundation Laureate, receiving the Mallinson Rendel Illustration Award.

Ruth’s books have sold in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, the UK, China and Korea, with translations in five languages. Her original picture book illustrations have contributed to touring exhibitions for Painted Stories (previously Te Tai Tamariki Trust) and two are held in the prestigious Mazza Collection at the University of Findlay, Ohio. She says every new book is a challenge and presents the opportunity to get better at the craft she wholeheartedly loves.

Also by Ruth Paul

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Praise for I Am Jellyfish

“No wonder I Am Jellyfish won Best Picture Book at this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Sterling rhyming, immersive illustrations, action, compassion, and a glow-in-the-dark cover to encourage littlies to turn off the light at bedtime.”

Mary de Ruyter, North and South

“Told in effortless rhyme, this simple, philosophical story shows us that jellyfish do have their uses, and are not to be taken for granted. Ruth Paul’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, using dappled tones, bright colours, and even glow-in-the-dark elements to pop the fish against the background, which heads to absolute black as we dive many fathoms deep. The expressions of the fish are hilarious, particularly the lanternfish, who has the expression of a country yokel in every B-grade Western ever made!”

The Sapling's Best New Zealand Picture Books of 2018

“The text and illustration in I am Jellyfish perfectly complement each other in this humour-filled tale of small but mighty...This is a book for all the unsung small heroes that will be giggled over and read again and again.”

Judges' Report, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

“This glorious celebration of the jellyfish’s sometimes-forgotten role in the world of the ocean serves as a reminder that it takes all fish to create a harmonious ocean. The colour palette glows in the depths of the ocean, while the rhyme is gentle and clever.”

Sarah Forster, The Sapling

“An impressive glow-in-the dark cover sets the tone for this luminous book about an unassuming little jellyfish who discovers she holds considerable power within. Jellyfish outwits predatory Swordfish by luring him into the darkest depths of the ocean. But when Swordfish encounters a predator of his own, Jellyfish comes to his aid and teaches him a lesson in the process. As usual, Ruth Paul's rhyming text is great fun to read aloud ("Swordfish slashed, Swordfish sliced, Swordfish dreamed of Jellyfish diced") and her striking illustrations are full of colour, contrast and movement.”

Emma Wood, Otago Daily Times

“A gorgeous tale, full of alliteration, courage, colour and identity.”

Little Treasures

“It’s a story that warrants repeated readings, for entertainment and to appreciate the small but mighty hero Jellyfish.”

Hannah Taylor-Rose, Magpies

“When you buy this book, make sure to take it into a darkened room to admire – the cover is wreathed with glow in the dark jellyfish and a fearsome swordfish’s eye...The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, using dappled tones and bright colours to pop the fish against the background, which heads to absolute black as we dive many fathoms deep. The expressions of the fish are hilarious, particularly the lanternfish, who has the expression of a country yokel in every B-grade Western ever made! I recommend this for those with curious children, who ask a million why’s and have an interest in what exactly goes on, under the surface of our great oceans.”

Sarah Forster, The Reader

“Ruth Paul’s colour palette glows against the deep ocean background in this gorgeous, perfectly toned book. There is a lot of space in the sea, but Paul had everything in exactly the right place.”

Sarah Forster, The Sapling


Awards & Recognition

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

    Winner • 2018 • Best Picture Book

  • New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

    Shortlisted • 2018 • Russell Clark Award for Illustration

  • Storylines Notable Picture Book Award

    Awarded • 2019 • A Storylines Notable Picture Book

  • PANZ Book Design Awards

    Finalist • 2019 • Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book 2019


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