The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish Book Poster Image
Cute holiday tale values gifts that come from the heart.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of sea creatures, with fins or tentacles, for little ones to identify.

Positive Messages

The best gifts come straight from the heart. Tasks are easier when you share them with a friend. Christmas is about more than shopping.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Miss Shimmer tells Mr. Fish that the "best gifts come straight form the heart," and she helps him make gifts for his friends. Mr. Fish starts out pouty but cheers up with her help. He's a loving, generous friend throughout.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Not So Merry Pout-Pout Fish is a Christmas-themed story in the popular Pout-Pout picture-book series. In this book, Mr. Fish is pouting because he's having trouble finding the perfect gift for each of the friends on his shopping list. But with the help of a friend, he learns that the "best gifts come straight from the heart" and creates gifts with his own fins.

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What's the story?

Mr. Fish is stressing out over finding fabulous Christmas gifts for his friends. He goes from shop to shop but can't find a gift for each one that meets his expectations of what a perfect gift should be. When his friend Miss Shimmer clues him in that the "best gifts come straight from the heart," he finds that creating handmade gifts with her help makes the "dreary-wearies" disappear.

Is it any good?

This simple holiday tale carries a welcome anti-commercial message, but it may resonate more with stressed-out adult shoppers than kids. Still, the art is wonderful, with lots of fun details in the watery world below and a big payoff when Manta Claus arrives at the end. Preschoolers will enjoy the wordplay and repeated rhyming phrase in Mr. Fish's quest: "A gift should be big / And a gift should be bright / And a gift should be perfect / Guaranteed to bring delight … "

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Is it just about gifts or something more?

  • Why do you think the Pout-Pout Fish books are so popular? Is it because of the art or the story?

  • Have you ever made a gift for someone? Might you try making one this Christmas?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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