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4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  18,143 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. With its graceful text and stunning artwork, this Caldecott Honor Book deserve ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 12th 1973 by Dragonfly Books (first published 1963)
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What an odd little book! It recounts the adventures of Swimmy after his school of fish is eaten and he seeks out to find a new one. Along the way, he meets other sea creatures. Some of the phrases are quite good, "and eel whose tail was almost too far away to remember" and some are quite dull, "a strange fish pulled by an invisible thread." The illustrations interesting but not altogether my cup of tea, though I appreciate their merits. Overall, not a favorite, but I'm glad I was able to read th ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
I have have heard works from Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Marc Brown and David Wiesner, but I have finally stumbled upon some works that came from my childhood a long time ago and those works consist of Leo Lionni! “Swimmy” is a Caldecott Honor book by Leo Lionni and it is about how an unusual little fish named Swimmy, who survives a giant fish attack, tries to find another family to live with. “Swimmy” may have an intense scene with the big fish that might frighten small children, but I am pretty ...more
Sep 29, 2008 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading to their children
Cute story and fascinating, gorgeous illustrations. Again, Leo Lionni delves into the matter-of-factness of life and shows that one little fish can make a difference. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Well, I clearly need to read more Leo Lionni. I really enjoyed Swimmy for its beautiful, Carle-like, painting style which young children will particularly love, but also for our plucky little hero! There is some lovely language in here to decribe the various creatures Swimmy encounters and I can see children wanting to mimic and play with these similes and metaphors but for me, it was Swimmy's cunning against the huge adversaries that won me over. A nice, simple story with a strong message. It m ...more
I used this book to teach finding theme to my high school students. Some of them thought it was dumb, but a lot of them (who thought that it was dumb before we started) ended up actually liking it a lot.

It's a good book, and a good one to read with kids. It's a simple story, but told very well and it really does show the wonders of broadening your mind and being yourself and working together to get things done. It's a good book. It's worth reading, even if you only skim it in the book store.
Bridgette Elston
Oct 11, 2016 Bridgette Elston rated it really liked it
This one I really liked. The little fish get terrorized by the big fish so they work together and are able to stand up to the other big fish.
Alexis Caudill
Sep 06, 2016 Alexis Caudill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
Swimmy is a Caldecott Honor Book. It is about a school of red fish and one black fish named Swimmy. When a dangerous fish comes, Swimmy gets away. He travels through the water noticing all kinds of different fish. He then gets a great idea to keep him and his school of fish safe.
2. Grade level, interest level, lexile (1 pt)
This would be a great book for children in Kindergarten to the 2nd grade. It would be very interesting for them and the words are eas
Kassidy Pine
Sep 22, 2014 Kassidy Pine rated it it was amazing
Swimmy by Leo Lionni is a creative book that demonstrates the story of a young fish named Swimmy who is a lone black fish with red brothers and sisters. Swimmy’s sibling reach an unfortunate fate, causing him to be on his own. He goes on to discover the beauty of the sea, from the rainbow jelly, to the forest of seaweeds. He comes upon another school of red fish hidden away in the away in the shadows and he soon realizes he must find a way for these fish to swim freely in the open without being ...more
Leslie Cordova
May 24, 2016 Leslie Cordova rated it it was amazing
I have just completed one of the sweetest little books, "Swimmy." This little book is about a happy school of fish that includes one little black fish named Swimmy that is quite different from all of his brothers and sisters that are red. He is able to divert being eaten by a very large tuna due to his fast swimming ability. He is able to get away, only to find himself in the deep dark waters all alone. The book follows his journey through the waters as he is searching for his family. He meets a ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Ophélie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listofbetterment
Swimmy is about a little black fish whose red sisters and brothers with whom he lived got swallowed by a big tuna.

Sad and left alone, he decides to go explore the sea. He then makes incredible and fascinating discoveries of the creatures of the world (I particularly liked the jellyfish which was beautiful). I feel like this first part is about growing up and having to face the world by yourself. Even if you feel helpless at first, you eventually learn to sort things out, you learn about yoursel
Linda Lipko
What a charmingly delightful story. Among all the red fish, Swimmy dramatically stands out as different. He is black compared to their red color.

Gifted with the power of speed, Swimmy is the lone survivor when a large Tuna gobbles up all the slower red fish.

Diving deeper into the waters, Swimmy discovers an entirely different world. Eventually finding a school of red fish who are fearful of being swallowed, resourceful Swimmy teaches them to swim together wherein the individual red fish becomes
Stephanie RDG3320
Jul 02, 2008 Stephanie RDG3320 rated it really liked it
This book is by far one of my favorites. The two lessons behind this story are that (1) it is ok to be different and to embrace being unique and (2) when people join and collaboratively work with one another you can accomplish any big task ahead of you. This would be a great story to read at the beginning of the school year and to any age! When you begin the year with this book it allows you flow right into the idea that in the classroom we are all going to embrace and welcome everyone's differe ...more
May 04, 2015 SamZ rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1964 Caldecott Honor. Favorite Illustration: the forest of colorful, lace-like seaweed growing from "sugar-candy rocks."
Swimmy is a little fish who, after being left alone, goes out to see all of the wonders of the ocean. Upon finding a new school of fish, Swimmy must convince them to work together to brave the dangers so that they, too, can enjoy the wonders and beauty of the ocean. I really enjoyed the peaceful, beautiful illustrations in this book. They look like they were made from watercolo
Dec 28, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I have to admit I have never read this book in the English version, but I do own a French version of this book called Nageot. My sister and I were given this book when we were young, and we have our own translation of the book (written if I remember correctly using a French/English dictionary) inserted into this book on a type written piece of paper. Beautiful photos, and a treasure from my childhood.
Apr 17, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
This is still a great story after all these years. Very good to show young children some of the ocean creatures, and the overall theme of cooperating together for the greater good. And the illustrations are marvelous, textured and colorful, with that runny watercolor look.
Apr 27, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it
The illustrations of Swimmy's underwater world are wonderful...somewhat whimsical in tone but showing both the wonders and dangers of Swimmy's ocean. Swimmy helps the other fish to problem solve, think outside of the box, and overcome their fears.
While I didn't care for the story as much, I did enjoy looking at the illustrations. I thought that it had a nice, clever ending. I'd recommend it.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Bethany Lockhart
Feb 03, 2013 Bethany Lockhart rated it it was amazing
I've used this book in my theatre classes and language arts class. As an educator, I've found so many opportunities for movement, crafts, creating dialogue, character building, teamwork, etc... in this one little book. I love working with it and the kids I've worked with have loved it too.
Alejandro Camacho
Mar 02, 2016 Alejandro Camacho rated it it was amazing
It is a good book it has a good story to it.It has very good plot and setting to it.I recommend it to my little sisters because it was very good.
Alayna Fontenot
Oct 14, 2015 Alayna Fontenot rated it it was amazing
The book was about fish y'all red and one black one.Yes I like the book because its all about fish.I think my brother will like this book because like book that has fish.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A classic book on the theme of cooperation. Pairs nicely with Marcus Pfister's The Rainbow Fish and Al Clements' Big Al.
Jan 29, 2015 Sonia rated it liked it
Shelves: tutoring-books
A story about a small black fish that help saves the other fishes.
Mar 22, 2016 Kaylee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-ish-books
Loved the art style!!!!
Oct 19, 2016 Lu rated it it was amazing

Author: Leo Lionni
Illustrator: Leo Lionni
It’s totally fine to be unique
Age Level: 4-8
Opening: “A happy school of little fish lived in a corner of the sea somewhere. They were all red. Only one of them was as black as mussel shell. He swam faster than his brothers and sisters. His name was Swimmy.”

Brief Synopsis: One day while Swimmy was swimming with his brothers and sisters a tuna fish came and ate all of them except Swimmy. He then kept swimming in the deep ocean and got to
Mama Bibliosoph
Leo Lionni was the first author/artist to use collage as his main medium for children's book art. His books are visually stunning and unique. "Swimmy" is another Caldecott Honor book, and one of my childhood favorites. The copy I read to Luke and Harry is the same one my mother read to me in the early 80s.

The text doesn't rhyme, repeat, and it isn't simple enough for the receptive language skills of my kids. So I'm not actually reading it straight, which, right now, is just fine. In fact, I shou
Nov 03, 2016 S.Vandermolen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572-reviews
This Fantasy story (interest level: approx. K-2) is about a fish named Swimmy who refuses to let his experiences of loss, isolation, and sadness hinder him from experiencing the beauty and wonder of the world around him. Though Swimmy chooses to stay positive and perseverant in his own life, can he convince the fish around him to work together to do the same?

Leo Lionni uses Swimmy to normalize many difficult emotions that students have experienced/will experience in their lives: sadness, fear, a
Sydney Funk
Nov 03, 2016 Sydney Funk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
• Swimmy is the only black fish in a school of red fish, then tragedy struck forcing swimmy to swim farther than he ever has and seen more than he has ever seen. When he finds his school again he teaches them to work together.
• Grades k-3
• This book could be used in an art class or in a lesson about working together.
• Individual students that may benefit from this book include students that need a reminder about the importance of working together.
• This could be used in a literature circle to
Oct 13, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it
1. Swimmy has one the Caldecott Medal in 2016.
2. The appropriate grade level for Swimmy is preschool through second grade.
3. Swimmy is a small black fish that goes exploring the large open sea, only to encounter many different creatures along the way. As he and his other colorful fish counterparts come in contact with a large fish, Swimmy thinks of a way to help save the day. The larger fish is not kind to him or the others to Swimmy comes up with an idea to have all the small fish swim in a sc
Rachel Kristine
Oct 29, 2016 Rachel Kristine rated it it was amazing
Swimmy is a cute picture book with absolutely beautiful artwork. One of my favorite pictures was when the book talked about “a forest of seaweed.” The seaweed was intricate designs in different colors, causing such a lovely effect. Another thing I loved about the artwork was all the little fish. The book is about one black fish, while all other fish of his size are orange. The black fish is able to stand out so much because he’s fully shaded in while the orange fish are all just the outlines. Th ...more
Jan 10, 2017 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is the story of Swimmy, the smart little fish who uses critical thinking and ingenuity to find a new school of fish and a way to ward off predators. The illustrations are my favorite part of this book- they do a great job of conveying an underwater feel. The seaweed details look like they may have been made by painting over lace doilies, and the effect is beautiful. I love the style and colors in the picture of the jellyfish as well. Story and pictures combine for a great classic storybook!
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MCC Children's Li...: Swimmy - Challice 3 3 Mar 04, 2012 09:27AM  
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Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his
More about Leo Lionni...

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