The Pout Pout Fish

Written by: Deborah Diesen

Illustrated by: Dan Hanna 

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Help your child get warmed up for this story by talking about initial observations about the cover and illustrations. If your child isn't speaking yet, you can talk about what you see to your child. 

What do you see? I see one blue pout-pout fish, with purple spots on his face and purple stripes on his tail. He is under the sea.

How do you think he is feeling? I think he is feeling very sad because he has a frowny face on. I wonder why he is sad...

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in these pictures? It looks like the pout-pout fish fell over the edge and he is falling, falling, falling into a jar!

As You Read

Have A Blast!

This story is so much fun to read, with its repetitive text and fun rhyming words so enjoy yourself! Make silly faces and take on the role of each character. Create funny voices for each one, and really act it out. If your child is verbal, have him/her say the lines "I'm a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face..." with you. This texted is repeated several times so it won't take long before your little one joins right on in!


Vocabulary Building

Point to each element in the illustrations as you read about them. When reading about Mrs. Squid, point to her and say, "This is a squid. Can you say 'squid'." Encourage younger children to repeat select words after you as you go along. You can also use facial expressions and comparisons to help your child learn about the things in the story. For example, when reading GRIMACE and GROWL, make the appropriate facial and vocal adjustments so that your child can visibly and audibly understand the meaning of the words. Another new word in this story is TENTACLES.


Making Connections

While pout-pout fish's friends try to get him to cheer up, connect the story to your child and the real world. For younger children, simply provide your own answers but allow older children to answer questions like, "Why is pout-pout fish always sad? Do you sometimes have the dreary-wearies? What are some things that make you sad? What makes you happy? What do fish do in the ocean?"

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask/answer simple questions about the plot and your child's experience like:

Did you like that story? Why/why not?

How did pout-pout fish turn into kiss-kiss fish?

How did pout-pout fish feel in the beginning of the story? How does he feel now?


Talk about Emotions

Ask your child to act like pout-pout fish by making a really sad face. Then give your little one a big old kiss to turn him/her into happy kiss-kiss fish! Keep providing different emotions and let your child come up with facial expressions that match! S/he can also use a marker and paper to make faces that show these emotions as well.

Extended Learning Exploration

Source: Gift of Curiosity

Supplies: 2 ziplock bags, duct tape, sand, a bottle of clear hair gel, blue coloration liquid water color paint, and plastic fish


Sensory activities are a great, hands-on way to get your child thinking about undersea life. Start this activity off by scooping some sand into a ziploc bag so that there is enough to cover the bottom. Next squirt a bottle of hair gel into the bag, as well as some blue liquid watercolor paint. Now add your plastic fish and seal your bag up tight. As an add precaution, we suggest double-bagging your ocean-in-a-bag and using some duck tape to add some extra protection against spilling or bursting. Now your child can squish the bag, mixing the blue paint in and getting the fish to "swim around".


Sing The Story

Here is a video of The Pout-Pout Fish set to music! Listen to it with your child and see if you can learn the tune!


Check This Out

If you are looking for a way to incorporate letters into playtime, try this Fishing for Letters game that will not only help your child recognize letters, but will also help develop your child's motor skills. Talk to your child about what sounds these letters make and what words they start with.