Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swimmy” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,802 Ratings  ·  424 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swimmy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swimmy

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
214th out of 3,502 books — 5,199 voters
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleIn the Night Kitchen by Maurice SendakThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian SelznickThe Wolves in the Walls by Neil GaimanThe Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Picture Books With Amazing Art
14th out of 377 books — 161 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Alejandro Camacho
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.
Jan 29, 2015 Sonia rated it liked it
Shelves: tutoring-books
A story about a small black fish that help saves the other fishes.
Feb 05, 2016 Kaylee rated it it was amazing
Loved the art style!!!!
Aleasha Atoruk
Feb 01, 2016 Aleasha Atoruk rated it really liked it
Swimmy is a story about a little black fish that swims faster than the schools of little red fish he assimilates himself with. His initial school of fish was eaten by a big fish, and he was fast enough to escape. He went exploring around the ocean, and came across another school of little red fish. He wanted them to explore with him, but they were afraid of being eaten, so he came up with a solution.

Swimmy is a little, portrait book with a border cover. The back of the book states the awards the
Apr 27, 2015 Xiaoting rated it it was amazing

Summary: Swimmy by Leo Lionni is a story about a little black fish in a school of red fish that have all been eaten up by a large tuna. Swimmy, being the only black fish finds himself alone and frightened, but eventually meets many new friends in the ocean and finds a new school of red fish. He learns that there is another danger in the sea; a big fish that eats the other creatures. Helping the fish work together, Swimmy uses his “uniqueness” and comes up with a way to protect them from be
Dec 02, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
Swimmy is a story about a little black fish that swims with a school of all red fish. Swimmy’s little family unfortunately get eaten, so Swimmy has to look for a new one. Along his adventure of finding a new school of fish, he meets many different sea creatures. He discovers how beautiful the sea is, from rainbow jelly to the forest of seaweeds. He eventually comes across a new school of red fish and realizes that he needs to figure out a way to keep this fish safe from the bigger ones. Swimmy s ...more
Rachel Ledbetter
Swimmy is a little black fish in the sea that is a part of a school of all red fish, which makes him different and stand out. As a group of small fish, the sea is a dangerous place because you can become prey for bigger fish. This school of fish remains scared in hiding until Swimmy comes along. Although different in color, Swimmy befriends these other red fish and comes up with something brilliant so all of the fish can go out in the open sea without fear. This story teaches that one small fish ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
Illustrated by Leo Lionni
Published: 1963
Fiction, Picture book

This book is about a black fish named Swimmy that is left all alone after his brothers and sisters were eaten by a big fish. Swimmy was able to escape the big fish because he was a fast swimmer. Swimmy sees many of the wonders of the ocean while swimming but becomes lonely. He finds a new school of fish to swim with but they are afraid of being eaten by the big fish so they do not want to venture out with Swimmy. Swimmy teaches
Swimmy is a picture book for children in preschool through grade 2. It is a Caldecott Honor book, as well as an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a New York Times Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. A little fish named swimmy is the only black fish in a large school of red fish. One day, he is the only one who escapes being eaten. He goes on a journey and experiences all the wonders of the ocean and eventually finds a new school to join. Together, they find a new way to survive. This is a gre ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
As a 50th Anniversary edition, you know it's got to be a classic. Indeed, it is.

Swimmy is a little black fish. He swims the big sea alone much of the time and is lonely. He does find other small fish to be fearful of those big fish, the predator fish. Swimmy comes up with a wonderful teamwork plan to keep them safe and yet able to swim in their ocean rather than staying huddled up inside a cavern or behind a rock. It is their home too, you know.

This is a book filled with great illustrations th
John Gilley
Jul 20, 2015 John Gilley rated it liked it
This book is about a fish named "Swimmy" and Swimmy is a black fish and all the other fish his size are red. One day Swimmy's friends get eaten by a larger tuna fish and Swimmy is left all alone. Swimmy wanders the ocean in search of other fish like him and eventually finds another group of red fish similar to his other group. Swimmy wants to play and swim around but the red fish are afraid id they leave the safety of their hiding spot, they will be eaten. Swimmy encourages them to leave and tel ...more
Feb 26, 2015 Madison rated it it was amazing
Personal Reaction: Swimmy is a sweet story about a fish who brings his school of fish together for teamwork. At the beginning of the story, Swimmy is an outcast and feels left out, as he was different than all the fish in his school. Swimmy's determination to solve their problem is inspiring.

Purposes: This book would work wonderfully for encouraging teamwork, in the classroom, gym, or recess. They see how together, the school of fish is able to accomplish something they could never do individual
Viviane Huynh
Nov 19, 2014 Viviane Huynh rated it it was amazing
Swimmy is a little black fish amongst a whole school of little red fish. One day, a big tuna fish came and ate all the red fish. Luckily, Swimmy was able to get away. He was all alone though until he found another group of little red fish. Swimmy wants to go out and play, but the little red fish are afraid of being eaten by the bigger fish. Swimmy comes up with a plan. If the little red fish swim closely together, they can create a facade of a big red fish. With Swimmy impersonating the "eye" of ...more
Apr 29, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Kayla Fjellbo
Sep 23, 2014 Kayla Fjellbo rated it liked it
If you're having trouble with a bully, make yourself bigger. At least that worked in Swimmy's world. Swimmy is a small, black fish who sees all of his friends being eaten by bigger fish. Instead of cowering down and giving up, Swimmy decides to fight back. This animated tale shows that it only takes one bright idea, to come up with a solution.

If you want good book to teach a child a lesson, Swimmy is the book to choose. Lionni use of playful imaginative scenes such as; "Strange fish pulled by an
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:
Paula Heller
After reading this book, it reminded me of the story, Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer. If you love that story, you will love this one too, because it has the same great message behind it. This story teaches children to be happy with themselves no matter how they look or seem different from everyone else. Their ability or look can makes a difference in the lives of others. Rudolf helped Santa and the other reindeer see in the dark, and Swimmy helped his friends become a large fish by becoming the ...more
Meghan Brennan
Nov 17, 2015 Meghan Brennan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-emotional
THis beautifully illustrated book follows Swimmy, a black fish who lived in a school of red fish. One day a big tuna fish came and swallowed some of the red fish, scaring Swimmy and the other fish away. All of the red fish were too scared to come out of their hiding place, so Swimmy suggests using team work to scare away the big scary fish! This book should be used to support social emotional development by discussing emotions, like how Swimmy was scared, lonely, and sad when he was separated fr ...more
Jammie Mays
Nov 19, 2014 Jammie Mays rated it it was amazing
This beautifully colored book full of full bleed double page spreads is a classic that needs to be in every beginning reader’s library. The illustration technique looks to be sponge paint and water colors which makes it more appealing to young readers. Each picture seems to go through the gutter which give the story a continuous flow and makes the reader want to turn the page. The print is small as to not take away from the beautiful pictures and the plot of the story which is better told by the ...more
Kelly Ramsey
Jan 17, 2014 Kelly Ramsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Swimmy the name given to the little fish was very diffrent. This was a very interesting story about the life on the oceans floors. Swimmy showed the other fishes how to protect and serve on the ocean floors. For young children the fishes shows them how to communitcate effectively and howw to work as one unit. Swimmy had great pictures that where frome pretty and child freindly. If the chioldren where ask to draw them it could be easily be done with there touch of immagination.

Learning Experience
Jun 09, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Swimmy is a beautiful story about a little fish whose school gets eaten by a large tuna. He is the only survivor, and strikes out to find a new group of fish to swim with. When he finds them, they are afraid to swim out because they do not want to be eaten by larger fish. Swimmy shows them how to work together so that if they stay as a group they will be safe from large predators.
This book has beautiful illustrations and gorgeous language. Also, when reading stories to my children I love a book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
MCC Children's Li...: Swimmy - Challice 3 3 Mar 04, 2012 09:27AM  
MCC Children's Li...: Picture Book 2 1 1 Feb 21, 2012 09:13PM  
  • A House for Hermit Crab
  • Goggles!
  • The Stray Dog
  • Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride
  • Snow
  • Amos & Boris
  • Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems
  • The Paperboy
  • Anatole (Anatole, #1)
  • Yo! Yes?
  • First the Egg
  • Ben's Trumpet
  • Noah's Ark
  • Peppe the Lamplighter
  • A Chair for My Mother
  • All the World
  • What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
  • It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
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
More about Leo Lionni...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »