The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen, Pictures by Dan Hanna

imgres-11Our worried little Pout-Pout Fish is back with a backpack looped around his front fins and brand new sharpened pencils pointing straight toward his first day of school. Sent off with a smooch from his parents, Mr. Fish isn’t sure what classroom to join. After three false starts, he is plenty frustrated with his flub-flub frowns making “blub-blub bubbles” as he tries to keep up with classmates writing their name, drawing shapes, and figuring math problems. After each attempt he repeats his mantra, “I’m not smart…I’ll never get it…I don’t belong…Forget it!” Attempting tasks over your head can be tough on a little guy until the soft voice of Miss Hewitt lead him to her classroom for “Brand-New Fish.” Joining a younger version of his buddies in the first episode of The Pout-Pout Fish (pointed out by one of our little listeners), Mr. Fish had crayons, toys and blocks for learning with the jelly fish, octopus and swordfish. Learning can be fun with just the right teacher and tasks that challenge and reward the student. A more positive message resounds in his new classroom, “We are smart…We can get it…We belong…We won’t forget it!” Language learning lessons abound in this book from discussing the main idea of what happens when the work is too hard to examining the clever illustrations and even the double meaning of “Teachers Rule,” or “Swim Team Sign Up and Make a Splash.”  There is plenty to keep adults amused too with the Great Artists Series posted on the wall including “Leonardo Da Pinchy” or Michelanjellyo.”

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