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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  22,230 ratings  ·  675 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 ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 12th 1973 by Dragonfly Books (first published 1963)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  22,230 ratings  ·  675 reviews

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This was a lovely book. The artwork reminds me of days in school when we did sponge painting or using those potatoes as stamps making art. It appears Leo used water colors and sponges and stamps to make this lovely book. It really works well too. It’s Playful and a whole lot of fun.

One fish does not look like his red brothers and one day all his red family is eaten. So he explores the ocean and sees many beautiful things. It’s a simple story for beginners. Swimmy does find another school of red

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
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 ...more
Sep 29, 2008 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 ...more
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.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Swimmy is a black fish in a school of red fish. One day, a fierce tuna fish swims in and eats Swimmy's family. He swims through the whole ocean. In his adventures, he is able to see more sea creatures than he ever had before. The illustrator overflows the pages with water color painting and the occasional acrylic to show movement and objects found in the ocean. Ultimately, Swimmy finds another school of fish, but they are too afraid to swim in the ocean. Simmy teaches them how to swim together ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Beautiful illustrations, lovely message about working together to be brave.
Jennifer Honahnie
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Swimmy is a fish who lives in the sea where all the little fished were red except for him he was black and swam faster than his brothers and sister. One day a big fish ate all the little red fish but not Swimmy. All alone he swam among the other creatures at the bottom of the sea, even strange fish pulled by invisible thread. He then came upon fish that looked just like his brothers and sisters and wanted to play. These fish did not want to play they were too afraid of getting eaten. Swimmy then ...more
Kassidy Pine
Sep 21, 2014 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
Alexis Caudill
Sep 06, 2016 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
Leslie Cordova
May 24, 2016 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 ...more
Sydney Funk
Nov 03, 2016 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
Mar 02, 2016 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
Margaret Chind
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: Sonlight P 3/4
Another one from the The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury: Celebrated Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud that loses a lot with miniature images. As for Swimmy I think its a cute short tale and with larger images to be able see more detail could be quite enchanting.

Reprinted and/or excerpt included in The 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud.
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 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 ...more
Jul 17, 2014 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
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.
Amy Layton
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Swimmy is a nice book with a somewhat startling sweep-over of Swimmy's family's deaths. Though perhaps that sweep-over is good, given the audience that Lionni writes for. Otherwise, this book does a great job reinforcing positive notions about teamwork, and has absolutely stunning illustrations. This would be best, probably, for a smaller child with a good vocabulary and an eye for detail.

Review cross-listed here!
Dec 28, 2012 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 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book for little ones!

1). Kids have fun trying to find the little black fish “swimmy” on each page. It reminds me of Where’s Waldo.

2). The lesson of the story is uplifting. It doesn’t matter how small you are, you can over come size objections, think about solutions, and be just as advantageous as the big.

3). Another lesson of the story is that life is not all about staying safe. Sometimes it’s about having to take risks to live a little.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The illustration of this book is amazing and eye catching. I love the story of a little fish with his big idea. I also like the description of the ocean life that Swimmy sees. This is a great engaging book for the little people in out lives. The pictures can be discussed in detail and the lessons can go anyway the reader wants it to go.
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fish, oceans, teamwork
A little black fish is left saddened and alone when all the red fish from his group are eaten. He swims through the ocean until he finds another school of red fish to join. Only this time, he teaches them how to swim in a formation that looks like a big fish, with him as the eye.

Illustrations are very arty, watercolors.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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:
Apr 27, 2015 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.
Lauren Waters
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the message of teamwork and the aquatic illustrations.
Leigh Triplett
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ga-pre-k-books
A cute book with watercolor pictures. It would be great for a sea unit since it covers different sea animals. This book also encourages problem solving.
Kalley the Chipmunk
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked the jellyfish
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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  

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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
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