Friday, January 21, 2011

Picture Book: The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Author Deborah Diesen has created a delightful marine character—Mr. Fish.  His oceanic world is vibrant and captivating.  The books’ themes are relevant for children—being scared of the dark and dealing with negativity.   For teachers, these selections are ideal for an ocean or a poetry unit.   The skillful uses of alliteration, rhyme, word play, and repetition make The Pout-Pout Fish and The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark pleasurable read-out-loud books—perfect for choral reading!  The target audience is ages 3-7. 

 Story Summary:
Deep in the ocean a “glum gloomy” fish swims grumpily through the water with an “ever-present pout.”   He declares:

I’m a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face,
So I spread the dreary –wearies
All over the place.
Blub.  Bluuub.  Bluuuuuuub.

Various sea creatures—clam, jellyfish, squid, and octopus—try to convince him that his grouchy attitude is unattractive and unpleasant.  They implore him to be optimistic and amiable.    Mr. Fish agrees.  Nevertheless, he insists that it is not up to him.  He believes his pout-pout face destines him to be gloomy and bad-tempered.  Everything changes when a “bright and brilliant swimmer” approaches Mr. Fish.  Instead of trying to encourage him to change his attitude, she plants a kiss right on his pout-pout lips!  Mr. Fish has an epiphany…he is a “kiss-kiss fish with a kiss-kiss face.”   He realizes his destiny is to spread “cherry-cheeries” wherever he goes!   

Evaluation:
The Pout-Pout Fish can be used to discuss negative attitudes.   Many children go through a complaining stage.  Everyone encounters difficult people.  This narrative illustrates the effect that pessimistic outlooks have on others and how random acts of kindness can help turn things around.   The story illustrates another significant lesson.   A physical feature or personal characteristic can be viewed (or used) either positivity or negatively.  Children can learn to recognize what may appear to be a handicap or hindrance can be a blessing!  It is all about perspective. 

More Teaching Idea Links for The Pout-Pout Fish:
Across the Curriculum Ideas
Preschool Sea Life Lesson Plans
Fish Activities


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