The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

( 3 )


Turn little pouts into big smiles!


Mr. Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and he frets about not knowing how to write his name, how to draw shapes, and how to do math—until he’s reassured that school is the perfect place to learn how to master all of these new skills, in Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School from Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna.

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Turn little pouts into big smiles!


Mr. Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and he frets about not knowing how to write his name, how to draw shapes, and how to do math—until he’s reassured that school is the perfect place to learn how to master all of these new skills, in Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School from Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The very prospect of the first day of school makes young Mr. Fish nervous. How can he deal with his teacher and his classmates when he can't write or do math or draw well? All his pouts turn to underwater smiles though when he discovers that school is just where you learn all those new skills! A stress-free introduction to pre-school or kindergarten.

Publishers Weekly
In repeating, rhymed verse, Diesen recounts Mr. Fish’s first day of school. With big, purple-rimmed eyes and downturned lips, he roams from classroom to classroom, trying to keep up (“The class was doing math,/ And most everybody knew it./ So he tried long division.../ But he just couldn’t do it”). Finally, kindly Miss Hewitt introduces him to her classroom for Brand-New Fish—right where he belongs. While Mr. Fish’s story ends a bit oddly, with a class reunion years later, readers who have known the sinking feeling of falling behind at school should find their spirits buoyed. Ages 2–5. Author’s agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (July)
From the Publisher
"Diesen tackles a worry not often found in back-to-school books; young Mr. Fish will ease children's fears about what will be expected of them." - Kirkus Reviews


"Fans of this series will appreciate Diesen's rhythmic - and ultimately reassuring - text, and Hanna's sunny illustrations contain many clever details." - Booklist

Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
A little blue fish has good reason to pout when he goes to school for the first time. As he enters the S.S. Rock Bottom Elementary School, he gets lost and soon is swimming against the flow no matter what he tries. He enters the first classroom he finds but quickly discovers the other fish all know how to write and he does not. He tries another room where fish are drawing shapes, but he cannot do that either. On his third try, he is in a math room; but he has no idea how to do the math. He gets more and more discouraged after every episode and concludes that he is not smart, he will never understand, he does not belong in school, and he had best just forget the whole thing. As he swims away, the lovely Miss Hewitt, who should have been his teacher all along, intercepts him. She gently persuades him to go along to the classroom for “brand new students” and that is where he finds many young fish like him. He fits in, does the expected tasks, and feels much better. The message in this rhyming, fun-filled book is that kids are smart, they can understand, they fit in and feel successful. The text travels at a good pace and offers hilarity. Rich illustrations enhance the text with their own humor while depicting fish in a delightful way. Some “gems” are the clam cam used for pictures, the fish used as legs for the tables, and a swim team poster. Part of the text repeats itself after each classroom episode and students will be saying it during subsequent reads. This text that spells success also encourages student participation. The clear message is that all can succeed when at the right level for them. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Pout-Pout Fish is back, this time recalling when he left for school "for the first time of all." As he floats down the corridor looking into each classroom, however, he discovers students doing things that, try as he might, he just can't accomplish. With failures at writing, drawing shapes, and long division, the discouraged fish counts off his troubles: "I'm not smart! I'll never get it! I don't belong! So forget it!" Enter Miss Hewitt, his understanding teacher, who assures Fish that "You don't have to know things/You haven't learned yet!" "I'm here to help you learn," she continues. "With practice, you will get it." The humorous cartoon illustrations depict a variety of sea creatures at their schoolwork and large views of Fish earnestly trying various tasks and giving up in "flub-flub exasperation," tongue lolling out of his mouth or hiding under his writing pad. Each time he recites his troubles, he appears hanging onto letters, shapes, or numbers. Youngsters will enjoy repeating the bouncy rhymed text. And when they are faced with a new challenge or when things seem too difficult, they can repeat the mantra "We are smart! We can get it! We belong! We won't forget it!" A confidence-boosting offering.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
This look back at when Mr. Fish was young and starting school for the first time focuses on belonging.Poor little Mr. Fish is not having a good first day of school. It started off well enough with a smooch from his parents, but then he lost his way in the big building. He peeks in several doorways and attempts to do the work he sees the other little fish doing, but he just can't, whether it's writing his name, drawing a rhombus or doing long division. Each time, the frustrated fish plops down his pencil and counts his troubles: "Trouble One: I'm not smart! / Trouble Two: I'll never get it! / Trouble Three: I don't belong! / So Four: I should forget it!" Just as he is ready to leave the school, his new teacher finds him and turns his troubles on their heads with a rhyme sure to accompany children on their own first days. As in the Pout-Pout Fish's other adventures, Hanna's cartoonish ocean realm is full of details for both children and adults (don't miss the posters and signs on the school walls), the various sea creatures using whatever appendages they have to complete their schoolwork.Diesen tackles a worry not often found in back-to-school books; young Mr. Fish will ease children's fears about what will be expected of them. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374360955
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Series: Pout-Pout Fish Adventure Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 31,989
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Diesen is the New York Times bestselling author of The Pout-Pout Fish, named by Time magazine as one of the Ten Best Children’s Books of 2008. She has worked as a bookseller and a librarian, and now works for a small nonprofit organization. She lives with her family in Grand Ledge, Michigan.


Dan Hanna has over ten years’ experience in the animation industry, and his work has appeared on the Cartoon Network. He lives in Oxnard, California.



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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2014

    I got this Read to Me book for my grandson who was starting scho

    I got this Read to Me book for my grandson who was starting school this year.  He like books that rhyme and with this book he very quickly learned to tell the story right along with the book.  One great thing about Pout -Pout Fish books.... the narrator is very good at entertaining the kids with his dramatic reading style.  Great little book for kids just starting out in school.

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  • Posted June 24, 2014

    Pout-Pout Fish does it again, and now he's going to school!  A f

    Pout-Pout Fish does it again, and now he's going to school! 
    A funny little rhyming game that Mr. Fish plays with himself that encourages your child to discuss why they are hesitant about starting school. 

    Mr. Fish is scared and worried he is not ready for school. He does not know where to go and finds himself in different classrooms trying different things, like writing and math, that he does not know how to do. This overwhelms him and he gets upset because he does not know how to do these things yet and he wants to leave school. 
    His teacher finds him and explains that when you're a new fishie, you're not suppose to know these things yet. You start in a classroom that will help you and one day you will learn how to write, do math, and much more. Don't be discouraged, just try and you'll succeed. 

    I have to admit, the beginning of the book felt a little discouraging. But, we must remember, Mr. Fish is a pouty fish that sees the negatives first and needs help seeing the positives to in order to turn his frowny face upside down! Like most little kids around the age 3-5, they want to do so much, but because they are so little, they get discouraged very easily and need all the guidance and support that they can get. Mr. Fish and his teacher are sure to give them a much needed boost in realizing that they're not alone and that they will get to where they want to.

    Again, the illustrations are wonderfully done in a mystical underwater setting that is fun and relatable. Adorable as always! Looking forward to more books in the near future. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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