PPBF: The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish

Happy Friday! Let's start with some grateful things ...
First, I'm excited about the opportunity to deliver the keynote address in my home state in June. Here's the save-the-date flyer that just came out; 
who wants to meet me in Milwaukee?

Next, I'm so grateful to be guest blogging over at Free Spirit Publishing; click {here} to read yesterday's post about helping hungry students through food insecurity.

I'm also tremendously thankful that our tree is filling up. It is such a special treat to peek into our students' happy hearts and see what they appreciate.

Don't you love how the character cam caught the sun's rays
 illuminating our gratitude?

UPDATE: Our tree just keeps blooming with blessings!

Finally, I'm swimming with delight that this week's PPBF also serves as a stop on the #poutpouttour.

Title: The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diesen
Illustrator: Dan Hanna
Publisher: Macmillan Kids
Date: September 8, 2015
Suitable for: ages 3-6
Themes: holiday spirit, generosity, mindset 
Brief synopsis: When Mr. Fish decides to go shopping with a fixed mindset about what the perfect holiday gift is, he comes up empty-finned. Will Miss Shimmer be able to help him unlock those errant beliefs and complete his quest?
Opening Page:
In a festive ocean corner,
Fish were decking out the reef,
Hanging tinsel, bows, and lights
In a holiday motif.

Enjoy this endorsement at Picture Book Reviews {here}.
Read the review at Chat With Vera {here}.
Talk about feelings with a creative Pout-Pout Fish activity idea {here}.
Create a visual display to showcase no-cost gifts.

Why I like this book: In true Pout-Pout Fish fashion, there's a echo verse that young children will grab on to and easily memorize ... 

"A gift should be big,
And a gift should be bright.
And a gift should be perfect -
Guaranteed to bring delight.
And a gift should have meaning
Plus a bit of bling-zing,
So I'll shop till I drop
For each just-right thing!"

... begging us to seize that teachable-moment extension about the fixed-mindset expectations of our friendly fish.

 In the end, Mr. Fish is given a beautiful gift from Miss Shimmer, the key to unlocking his beliefs about what gifts should be and adopting a 
growth-mindset alternative.

As an additional creative enrichment activity idea, invite students to re-write the book's poetic refrain with their beliefs about gift-giving. Then encourage them to exchange their work with a critical friend to see if their beliefs are fixed and could benefit from being unlocked.

And what did the author Deborah Diesen hope that we'd glean from her underwater holiday jewel? Here's some timeless wisdom about gift-giving from a recent interview:

Q: Do you have any tips for parents of toddlers about the joy of giving gifts rather than just receiving them this holiday season?

A: Kids love to give presents and they especially love having an active role in the process of creating presents. Try a craft idea or a project that's extremely simple and stress free, and then let your child have at it with a minimum of help. The more messy, lopsided and imperfect the results, the better. Have fun with the process and as you do, you'll create not just gifts, but memories as well.

This joyful holiday treasure spotlights hand-made presents from the heart; 
give yourself a gift and check it out.

For more PPBF picks, visit Susanna Hills blog {here}.  


  1. This looks like a perfect read for the day after Thanksgiving when we're all avoiding the stores... I vote we all sit down and read and eat more pie. Shopping can wait.

    1. You are so right. Stay home with a good book; a child on your lap is the bonus, along with that piece of pumpkin pie, of course! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Yes, I agree with Sue. Great start to the holiday season. I love how you know just the right activities for each book. I like to see children pick out toys they've outgrown and give to local programs. One of my favorite global programs is Operation Christmas Child, where children can pack a shoebox with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for kids. Great project for youth groups.

    1. Welcome, Pat! YES, I love the global programs too; so much learning, connecting, and serving children can do as they learn to give back. And it's NEVER too early to start.

  3. Look at that face! Haven't read this one yet, but I'll have to see if the library has a copy. Thanks.

    1. YES, his dreary-weary face is undeniably pitiful ... until his problems resolve. I hope you can find a copy and read all about it for yourself. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. That's a creative twist on the holidays - a fishy setting, and a pout fish. I've never head of Pout Pout Fish, and again I am wondering if I have been living under a rock. :) There are lots of Pout Pout Fish books, aren't there!

    1. Well, there are a LOT of books on the market to keep track of so I wouldn't stress too much about not having crossed paths with the Pout-Pout fish ... until now! I think you'll find them delightful.

  5. So much fun to see a clever rhyming picture book...they keep telling us it's not the time for rhyme...but maybe the really great ones make it. ;)
    And so lovely to see you are here, there, and everywhere...you have so much of value to share, Barb!
    Have a beautiful Thanksgiving. ;)

    1. Thank you, Vivian, for coming by and for your kind comments. You have a fantastic Thanksgiving, too!

  6. I know I'm going to enjoy this book. Finding the perfect gift was something my mother taught me. She never waited until December to shop for Christmas. If she found something in June that said to her, "This would be a perfect gift for _____!" She'd buy it and put it away for Christmas. Her gifts were always thoughtful. From the verses you included in this lively picture book, I know I'll want to own a copy. Thank you for sharing it for PPBF.

    1. What a gift, Leslie, that you would share these reflections about your mom with us. That's the perfect way to celebrate people at holiday time if you ask me.

  7. Errant beliefs - still have some of those when it comes to gift shopping. Sounds like I need this book!

    1. I love the idea of unlocking "errant" beliefs. I'm believing more and more than everything starts with a belief and unlocking the errant ones is key.

  8. I love the Thankful Tree! And I'm sure young readers will relate to Fish. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Manju. That tree truly is growing with gratitude and blooming with blessings!

  9. I'm with Joanne--that adorable FACE! And obviously the message rings true. We should all relax and enjoy each other, the best gifts of all.

    1. I'm told there actually is a pout fish but I've come up empty-finned as I try to research it. Fictional or real, its message is the real deal, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Wendy.

  10. Oh this is such fun to read and that cover is to die for! Such a laugh. Hope you have all got your turkeys or whatever it is you have on Thanksgiving day. Will be thinking of you all. Great choice for Perfect Picture Book.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!