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Big Al

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  615 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews

Poor Big Al! He just wants to make friends. And in the whole wide blue sea you can't find a nicer fish. But because Big Al is large and scary-looking, the little fish are afraid to get to know him.

What can he do? He tries everything he can think of -- from disguising himself with seaweed to burrowing under the ocean floor so he'll look smaller. But something always goes w

Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published 1988)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,055)
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Kristen Sawyer
Summarize the book:
This is a picture book about a big, scary looking fish who just wants to find a friend. No matter how hard he tries to be friendly and nice, all the other fish are afraid of him. He is finally able to make friends after the fish get caught in a net and he saves them.

Identify the characteristics from the text that support the specific genre:
The colorful pictures keep children engaged and excited. Text and illustrations work together to deliver the message that looks can be dec
May 09, 2011 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, z_11
Big Al is the nicest fish, really, you couldn't meet a nicest fish. It's just that he's big and kind of ugly and kind of scares all the other fish. But, really, you couldn't meet a nicer fish.

Story about friendship & not liking people based on looks...although Big Al has to save everyone's lives before they like him and his big/non-cute ness, so maybe it's more about the realities of life.

Pairs well with Swimmy or Big Al and Shrimpy
Al is a big, scary-looking fish. None of the little fish will get close enough to find out that Al is also the nicest fish you'll ever find in the ocean. Poor, lonely Al tries everything to disguise himself: he wraps himself in seaweed, he buries himself in sand, and he even tries to change his color. Still, everyone is frightened by his scary teeth and enormous mouth. When danger comes along, Big Al finally gets to prove his kindness and bravery.

Big Al's gentle, funny story reminds us that acti
Alexandria Stephens
Big Al is a timeless tale that teaches about friendship and appearance. Big Al is big, ugly, and scary. Big Al is the nicest fish in the ocean but he has no friends and is very lonely. The other fish can't look past his exterior to get to know his interior. Al tries numerous different tricks to disguise himself so that people will like him, but none of them work. Al gains friends after he saves a pack of fish that are trapped in a fisherman's net by cutting it open with his sharp scary teeth. Of ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big Al is a large and unattractive fish with sharp teeth. Even though he is a kind fish, the other fish in the sea are scared of him and he has no friends. He tries many ways to hide or cover us his appearance so he can make friends. Nothing works. One day, a school of fish is caught in a net. Al uses his sharpo teeth to break the net and free the small fish. However, Al is caught in a net in the process and taken up to the fisherman at the top of the water. Minutes later, Al comes back down. Th ...more
Christine Benavente
Apr 18, 2016 Christine Benavente rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sel
Big Al is a wonderful book that everyone should read! It is a story about a big fish who is having trouble fitting in with the other fish in the ocean. Big Al wanted to make friends, but he was so big that the other fish were afraid of him. Big Al tried to disguise himself so the other fish would like him, but that didn't work! Then a big boat came and... well, read the book and find out for yourself! This book is great because it teaches its readers about friendship and acceptance. Every person ...more
Bambini Travel
Mar 07, 2014 Bambini Travel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not new, but it is a timeless tale. Through the story of a big, ugly, and especially kind fish, it gently explains the trouble with judging someone by their looks. Big Al, the fish, is a super friendly, but he is also big and scary looking. None of the other fish in the sea will get close enough to get to know him. One day something happens and Big Al selflessly steps up to help the other fish. A simple, relate-able story beautifully illustrated with soft, vibrant colors. Plunge int ...more
Natalie Sabbath
Big Al
Main Characters: Big Al
Setting: The Sea
POV: Third Person Narrator

Summary: “Big Al,” written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Yoshi, is a story about friendship and acceptance. Big Al is the friendliest and nicest fish in the entire ocean and really wants to make friends. However, Big Al has a very hard time getting other fish to be his friend because of his large size and scary appearance. Big Al’s brown, ugly scales and big eyes and teeth scare the other fish away from him. He tries
Apr 10, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about acceptance. Big Al is a very "unattractive" fish that doesn't have any friends because he looks so scary. But, when a net comes down to capture all of the smaller fish, Big Al sacrifices himself to save the others. The surprise ending is a delight when the fisherman are so scared of the scary face that they release Big Al, thus resulting in Big Al becoming the hero - who suddenly has lots and lots of friends. A great book for many ages.
Traci Bold
Jun 27, 2015 Traci Bold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big Al has no friends. No one wants to be friends with the scary, ugly fish. Poor Al. He cannot help how he is.
One day a school of fish desperately needs Big Al. They figure out Big al is not so scary after all.

A great picture book about accepting people for how they look.

Written by Andrew Clements, beautifully illustrated by Yoshi.

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Sep 17, 2012 fuzzgig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2015 Bradie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is a great book, and my favorite part is the ending when Big Al saves the other fish. I was so happy that the fisherman the him back in the ocean"
Bradie- Age 7
Mom- We've had this one since she was 4 or 5, and it's a shame she's outgrown it. Recommend for those ages.
This is an endearing tale about acceptance of differences and thinking about the point of view of others. It will inspire thoughtful discussion about being yourself. Colorful and engaging illustrations.
Chelsea Smith
Mar 16, 2016 Chelsea Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a story that I had never heard of before and am glad I picked up to read! Big Al teaches readers about perseverance, helping others, and staying true to who they are.
Big Al is a big ugly fish who would love to have friends, but the other fish are scared of him. he tries all sorts of things to fit in.
Oct 20, 2014 Cruse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big Al is definitely a "different kettle of fish". This book is great for showing students to be yourself if you want true friends.
I have some issues with this book regarding its illustrations and resolution, but it could pair nicely with Wonder or Maniac Magee.
Jennie Park
Big Al is a great story that can also be read to many grade levels( appropriate for kindergarten through 5th grade). Throughout the story Big Al, the big fish, is having trouble fitting in with all the other fish in the ocean. He is not accepted or well-liked because of his unusual appearance. Big Al tries many means of trying to change himself so that others will accept him and he can make friends. This is certainly relateable for students in elementary school since everyone wants to be liked a ...more
John Schlotfelt
A solid story to teach the value of those around you who may be frightening or different. Illustrations are beautiful.
Jul 16, 2015 Emelda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vegan-parents
Gorgeous illustrations, and the kids liked it. Vegan parents, you can take it to an anti-fishing place if you like!
Darilyn DeMaria
Jun 02, 2016 Darilyn DeMaria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great message and worth the read, no matter how old or young. Everybody needs a reminder along the journey!
Good illustration, great moral based picture book. Don't judge people by their lookks
This is another great book to begin the school year with to talk about friendship.
Mar 14, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children
Recommended to Karen by: Letter of the Week
Great lessons in judging others and including everyone - no matter what they look like.
Meghan Brigan
Big Al tells the story of a fish named Al who is having a hard time making friends because he is big and scary looking. The little fish get caught in a fisherman's net and Al has a chance to prove that he would make a great friend. This book is for children ages four to eight. The illustrations take the reader under the sea to a colorful world of fish. Big Al is drawn so that the reader is able to see his vulnerability and that he is not really scary. My favorite part of this book was the simple ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
I really do feel for Big Al.
Nice book for children.
This book is about an ugly fish who is very lonely because all the other fish are afraid of him. he tries everything to become their friend but they reject him then one day he saves the fish from the net of a fisherman and he becomes their hero and best friend. This is a great book to read with students throughout the year to show them they shouldn't judge a book by its cover and give everyone a chance to be friends. This is one that i would keep in my classroom library for students.
Kristi Bernard
Sep 05, 2010 Kristi Bernard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Big Al is a touching tale of why you should never judge a book by it's cover or a fish by it's scales. Desperately seeking a friend, Big Al tries all sorts of things to make friends including altering his appearance. In the end, what he thought were his biggest flaws turned out to be his greatest assets.

Andrew Clements' inspirational story and Yoshi's awe inspiring artwork certainly make for a delightful combination. Big Al is at the front of my bookshelf
Sarah Leesman
Big Al is about a heroic fish named Big Al. Big Al is bigger than all of the other fish and no one wants to be friends with him until he saves the day. He tries many different ways to fit in but nothing works. Big Al saves the day by rescuing the other fish. After Big Al saves the other fish in the ocean he finally gets the friends that he has always wanted. This book has a great message for children about being yourself and helping others.
Shelbi Bishop
Dec 07, 2011 Shelbi Bishop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Big Al is a large, lonely fish. Because he is so large it is hard for him to make friends. Although he tries to disguise himself in many different ways, he fails to make any friends.

One day, all of the small fish got caught by a fisherman's net. Big Al saved them by tearing the net. After that, everyone loved Big Al.

I would use this book to talk about the importance of friendship and community and how everyone needs to get along.
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I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I'm certain there's a link between reading good books an ...more
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