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Fish Is Fish

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,738 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Leo Lionni's spirited story about a minnow and a tadpole is now available as a Step 3 Step into Reading book--perfect for children who are ready to read on their own!
Paperback, School market, 28 pages
Published April 1995 by Scholastic Inc. (first published 1970)
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This is a cute little book. My only complaint is that it might be difficult for children to discern what the "moral" of the story is. I believe the author meant for it to be something along the lines of "do what you excel at rather than trying to be what you're not" but this could easily be misinterpreted as "don't pursue your dreams or you might die." Heh.
Anna Kļaviņa
Fish is Fish or Fish, know your place
Mar 05, 2010 Tricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, plus-1, 10-02-feb
I remember loving this book (it survived many culls of books over the years), and looking at it now, the illustrations are beautiful and textured, the imaginative glimpses of what fish imagines the world to be like fun and whimsical. But the underlying story is disappointing. The moral seems very much that you should stick to your pond and to what you know - that the wider world is not for fish, only frogs. The fish's desperate struggle for breath and his realisation that he is not allowed to pa ...more
May 28, 2013 Lindsay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preschool, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2014 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a literature teacher, it's important to always remember that a student doesn't always have the background knowledge to fully understand concepts and in this case, frame of reference is extremely important. The book was recommended by my principal who is a former kindergarten teacher and I enjoyed it with my 10 year old.
Sarah Adamson
I am grateful to the person who bought this for us and there are beautiful illustrations. I appreciate the fish using his imagination to create fish-birds etc which was beautiful and fun to look at. Whilst reviewers seem to disagree over the author's intent, I am one of those who feel this book fails to be inspirational to children.
A fish is a fish. Moral - stay in your small world and make the most of it. Whilst this is true, children reading this level of book shouldn't be told that their smal
Caryn Caldwell
Dec 03, 2015 Caryn Caldwell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: early-readers
Fish and Tadpole are best friends, but when Tadpole becomes a frog and goes to shore, Fish is left alone. Ever the faithful friend, the frog happily returns to regale Fish with stories all about life on land. The intrigued Fish is determined to go to shore, too. Unfortunately, it turns out fish simply aren't meant to be out of water. This reprint of the 1970 tale is formatted for young readers.

This is a lovely story of friendship and making the best of a situation. I particularly enjoyed the par
Mar 15, 2016 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A reread for me in preparation for a read-aloud.
Camila Bueso
Mar 17, 2016 Camila Bueso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The minnow and the tadpole were best friends they were inseparable. One day the tadpole started growing into a fog, he started growing legs. However the minnow didn’t change, he constantly asked the tadpole why he was not changing. The tadpole tried to explain that he was a fish and he wouldn’t develop any legs. When the frog was fully developed he jumped out of the pond and into the land to explore new things. Many days passed and the minnow grew bigger and bigger. One day, the frog returned to ...more
Emily Egbers
Mar 07, 2016 Emily Egbers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
The book Fish is Fish, is a classic story of friendship between a fish and tadpole. The fish began to realize that his friend was changing and wondered why he was staying the same. The two friends argued about the change until the tadpole turned into a frog and left the pond. They began to live different lives, one on land and the other in the water. The frog left and went on an adventure throughout the world and the fish didn't understand where his friend has gone to. However, the frog came bac ...more
Veronica Duarte
Feb 22, 2016 Veronica Duarte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fish is Fish
By:Leo Lionni

When picking this book out, I thought it was going to be a boring picturebook, but skimming through it I found out that it was adorable.

The cover of the book has the orientation of portrait and has illustrations that are done in watercolor and colored pencil. On the cover the reader sees a tiny fish with a thought bubble with something that looks like a colorful flying fish. The title page has illustrations that are continuous from one page to the other. Throughout the
Apr 27, 2015 Xiaoting rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fish to Fish

I have to say that this is a really good book for children and adults. This is a story about two friends, a tadpole and a fish. They love in a pond until the tadpole becomes a frog and leaves. He brings back fantastic descriptions of the outside world and the fish tries to explore this other wolf for himself. The fish also want to leave the pond to see outside world. However, he finds out that he cannot breathe outside the water and is saved by the frog.

I think the front cover is ver
Alyssa Roberts
Nov 17, 2014 Alyssa Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This book is about a fish who is very curious about what happens on land, but since he's a fish, he can only wonder. He becomes friends with a tadpole, who he thinks is a fish. The fish tries to go on land to explore and almost dies! But tadpole saves him. So one day when the fish realizes his friend is changing into a frog, he doesn't want to believe it. The frog comes back to the pond after a little while to tell the fish about what he's seen. The frog tells him about all the cows, birds, and ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Ashlea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly enjoyed this book. Once again it is a book about being okay with who you are and the world you live it. In the beginning of the story the minnow and tadpole are great friends but as they grow into a frog and fish the fish doesn't understand how you can change from one thing to the other. Eventually once the minnow is a full grown fish and the tadpole is a frog they begin to live separate lives, one on land and the other in the water. The frog goes on an adventure through out the world but ...more
Hannah Baumgartner
This is a tale about friendship and the depths you might take to fill your imagination. This starts out with a tadpole who turn into a frog and explores what the land has to offer. He is so excited and tells his friend, a fish, about it. The fish wants to follow the frog and explore the land also.

I really enjoyed this book because I have wanted to explore places that I was not able to as a child, so I would use my imagination. Leo Lionni illustrated this book along with writing the text and he u
Kevin Wright
Mar 29, 2014 Kevin Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-ya
A cute book with complex themes. First, Fish is Fish explains how friends grow apart as they grow up, but how those ties will always remain. Second, the title itself emphasizes the theme of knowing and being true to yourself and following your own path in life. The most endearing part of the book is when the fish imagines the birds and cows and fish that the frog describes to him as strange and wonderful hybrid fish creatures. This shows how we think of things in terms of what we know. Without e ...more
David Kohler
Apr 07, 2011 David Kohler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story that tells grown-ups about how people learn. I've used it to illustrate how wrong the "peoples are blank slate" myth in education; instead, people come with their own understanding and misconceptions which they use when feeding new information. In the end, this is a book about constructivism.
Aug 18, 2008 jacky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
My professor in my cultural diversity class read this to us in class. He used it to show us how we look at different cultures through the lenses of our own, which impacts how much we understand.
A minnow and a tadpole enjoy carefree days swimming in a pond. They engage in a philosophical discussion as the tadpole begins to change into a frog. After leaving the pond, the frog returns with tales of all the things he has seen in the wider world. The fish, of course, pictures all of these wonders, including birds, cows, and humans as fishlike. Curious about these creatures, he leaps from the pond but ends up unable to move at all. Luckily for him, his frog friend pushes him back into the po ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading to their children
A sweet story about the world outside of our own pond. It's a bit philosophical and speaks to being content with your own life. Our girls really enjoyed this story.
I feel like I don't get this book. First of all, "fish is fish" is a very awkward phrase. Second, I feel like the last page is a punchline that is desperately unfunny. I suppose it's a little silly when the fish is imagining all animals as fish-influenced, but the pay-off is just strange. I felt bad for the fish. And I don't even get the initial argument -- the tadpole couldn't explain his situation? He just had to say "fish is fish"? Sometimes I feel like a curmudgeon. But sometimes I'm just no ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I thought this was a cute story about a friendship between a frog and a fish. When a frog finally gains its four legs, it hops out of water to explore the world outside the pond. The frog returns and tells the fish about all sorts of wonderful animals. The fish can't help but imagine about the wonderful world outside of the pond and tries to leave the pond. However he discovers that he is a fish and must stay in the pond. The illustrations are very creative and show the imagination of the fish a ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
This book was about a tadpole and a minnow. The tadpole quickly became a frog and explored the world. He came back to the pond and told the fish and he became jealous. He wanted to see the world for himself so he decided to jump out of the water. He couldn't breathe. Luckily the frog was there and pushed him back into the water. The fish realized that was where he was supposed to be. I think children would enjoy reading this book because of the way the fish imagined all of the animals and peopl ...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Aug 04, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-04-08
A baby fish and a tadpole in a pond become friends. When the tadpole grows into a frog, he leaves the water to explore the land above. Upon hearing from his friend about this wondrous world, the fish decides to go see it. But he leaves the water at his peril, only to be rescued just in time by the frog.

This is not a moralistic story, but it lays some groundwork for an understanding of what constitutes truth. This especially relates to the postmodern idea that spiritual (unseen) reality is whatev
Jessica Vanhemel
The illustrations in this book are great, it was almost looks like they are textured and really would jump off of the pages. The illustrations go along way to help tell the story, the story and illustrations go hand in hand. One would not work well without the other, the pictures really help the reader visualize what is happening in the story.

This is the story of a fish and a tadpole, they were good friends. Slowly tadpole begins to change into a frog, which makes fish upset because frog can le
Anne Catesby
Fish is Fish by Leo Lonni is story about change and the adjustments that must be made during times of change. A little minnow and a tadpole who has been by one another sides since birth are now experiencing a great change when the tadpole beings to turn into a frog. This comes as a surprise to the minnow when the tadpole turns into a frog and he continues to stay a minnow. The frog is able to go onto land and explore the world outside of the pond. However, when the minnow decides one day that he ...more
Oct 30, 2013 Jazmin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fish is Fish is a classic picture book written and illustrated by Leo Lionni in 1970, and renewed in 1998. It makes a wonderful read aloud due to the minimal text and large illustrations. Readers can enjoy this book on their own as well as with a group, from third grade and up.
The story is about a frog and a fish that grew up together. The fish saw early on that the tadpole would change as he grew to be a frog, and the fish was still a fish. The frog eventually leaves the pond and leaves the f
When Fish's friend returns fro his adventures as a frog, Fish imagines all of the things Frog has experienced and wishes he too could travel on land. But when Fish decides to jump out of the water, he realizes that his life as a fish isn't so bad after all.

Age: 3+

Skill: Narrative Skills (This story has a definite beginning, middle, and end with a well-defined problems. Use this book to discuss the problem and solution in this story, as well as Fish's realization.)
May 19, 2014 R rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed the cute and imaginative pictures. This story teaches a very important life lesson: If you pursue your dreams with everything you have, you'll fail, suffer horribly, and be pushed back into your little backwater. My primary complaint would be that the author didn't go far enough to drive his point home. The lonely failure-fish should've been allowed to die.
Yeah, so, I'm not sure I get the message of this book. It seems to be saying that you can't be something you're not (fish is fish, not frogs), but I'd like to think of identity and self as way more fluid than that. So that's why I don't really like this book... also I think the point it is making is too obscure for my 3 yr old. Even though she is brilliant.
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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
More about Leo Lionni...

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