Swimmy

 
Simple, life-affirming book about relationships.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

The title character is briefly left alone and sad after a predator swallows his fellow fish.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book will keep kids engrossed from the sad beginning to the triumphant ending, enjoying the simple but dramatic plot, intriguing text, and dreamlike illustrations.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Swimmy is the sole survivor of an encounter between a school of small fish and a tuna. When he meets a new group of his kind hiding among the rocks, he is determined to hatch a plan so they can safely explore their world. This visually rich, life-affirming book teaches kids that relationships matter.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SWIMMY succeeds in conveying an important moral lesson with a sense of grace. There's nothing heavy-handed here, just a simple tale about a humble little fish who is passionate about life. Kids learn about perseverance, cooperation, and the power of unity.

The watercolor prints are vivid, and the lyrical language has a wide appeal, lulling the youngest children, challenging new readers, and keeping older kids (and even adults) engaged. Creatures come alive through descriptions like that of a lobster "who walked about like a water-moving machine." Even the seaweed seems magical. This is a little picture book that feels as big as the sea. It may very well become one of your family's favorites.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Swimmy's experiences. What important things about life and relationships does he learn? How does he end up learning these things?

Book details

Author:Leo Lionni
Illustrator:Leo Lionni
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:April 12, 1973
Number of pages:28

This review of Swimmy was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 1 year old Written byBubeh December 19, 2011
age 3+
 

Little Fish Teaches Big Lesson

Swimmy shows the other fish how each can have a better life when they all work together. The lesson is taught simply and without preaching. Adults and children alike will love the watercolor illustrations in this Caldecott Honor book.
What other families should know
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Digital Compass