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Big Al

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  486 ratings  ·  75 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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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
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
Bambini Travel
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
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.
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Kelly Tromburg Frisk
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.
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.
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
Mar 14, 2014 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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.
4.5 stars. I grabbed this book to use with one of my speech/language group today. I recently bought it and wanted to see what the kids thought. I loved the story and pictures. I was able to talk with the kids about friendship, the ways Al tried to make friends, explore some vocabulary, ask questions, etc. They were fully involved in the story (even those students with attentional issues stayed with it). Going in my reread pile!
Dec 08, 2012 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an entertaining story about a big, ugly fish who finds a way to make friends. The story helps to reinforce the concept that what's important about a person is on the inside, not the outside. The illustrations are colorful and I was surprised at how expressive the fish faces were.

Our youngest brought this book home from her second-grade class to practice her reading comprehension. We enjoyed reading the book together.
Alan Culler
This is a great child's book about a big ugly fish named Al (Me) and a bunch of tiny pretty bitchy uppity fish (The School) one day the little snoddy fish get caught in a net and Big Al's heart is so pure that he won't leave them to die. He uses his snaggle-tooth and massive size to slice open the net and set them all free. They all realize that he is Fabulous and they can't live without him.
Denesha Allen
The moral of the story is never judge by appearance. Big Al was one of the most ugliest sea creatures, but he was really friendly. No one wanted to play or talk with him because they were afraid of him. This made Big Al lonely and sad. Eventually, Big Al becomes liked when he saves the other fish from being taken away by fisherman. Nice story to read aloud and teach a lesson on.
This was a really cute book. I used this book to teach descriptive writing to my students and they loved it. We first read half of the book without looking at any pictures. We then discussed all of the different descriptive words the writer used to describe Big Al and the students went and drew Big Al. WE finished the book and compared their fishes with the illustrator's rendition.
The Styling Librarian
Big Al by Andrew Clements and Yoshi – This was a book I just had to purchase and add to my new school library. I cannot imagine a library without Big Al. It has a clear, beautiful message that children can take and grow with… very special. It is also a lovely selection for the beginning of a school year when you talk about the choices you make and how to make a new friend.
Jessica Chambliss
This book reminds me of children in schools who are different. Just because you are different does not mean that you should be treated differently. Big Al is a fish with big eyes, and funky skin! If I were to read this book in my classroom I would relate it to bullying and how treated children differently is not appropriate. We are all people and we all have feelings.
Rebecca Martin
Great book! It's great for a read aloud and having a discussion about friendship and bullying. The students can discuss what was happening in the book and why the fish were mean to Big Al. Then they can discuss how the fish should have acted. The teacher can ask them: What does it mean to be a good friend? What would you do if you saw someone being mean to someone else?
Kathryn Sublett
This book would be used during the first week of class to inform students that there will be no tolerance for bullying. Teachers can create games for class (team) building to help bring the class together. Students will realize that everyone is different and awesome in their own way. This book could be used with all grade levels in elementary.
Feb 25, 2009 Luann rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luann by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Hartman
Even though he's big and scary-looking, Big Al wants to have friends. He tries to make friends with all the little fish, but they always run away from him. Big Al has to figure out a way to make friends despite his appearance. A nice story with nice illustrations about the importance of character over appearance.
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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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