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The Pout-Pout Fish

(The Pout-Pout Fish)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  12,771 ratings  ·  977 reviews

Deep in the water,
Mr. Fish swims about
With his fish face stuck
In a permanent pout.

Can his pals cheer him up?
Will his pout ever end?
Is there something he can learn
From an unexpected friend?

Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading "dreary wearies" isn't really his destiny. Bright ocean colors and playful rhy
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,771 ratings  ·  977 reviews

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Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-children
The Pout-Pout Fish is a hauntingly realistic portrayal of one fish's journey through depression and self-loathing.


Much like what happens in real life, his well-meaning friends try to help him by giving him sage advice like, "turn that frown upside down" , but their words of wisdom go unheeded.


Ultimately he realizes that only the love of a good woman can lift him out of his sadness. It brought tears to my eyes when he realized that he was a Smooch-Smooch Fish!


Ok. Maybe not. But my little girl
Aug 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
The Kiss-Kiss Fish needs to have a refresher course on consent before I read this book again.
Dan Schwent
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books, 2019
Pout-Pout Fish is a crabby bastard that spreads his bad mood among the denizens of the ocean. Will he ever change his ways?

For my cousin's baby shower, she requested kid's books instead of cards. My wife ordered three books and wound up keeping this one. Luckily, we've since had a baby and I've read this book to Miles a dozen times already. Actually, since it's written in verse, I normally rap it in my middle age white guy style. Sadly, my wife has yet to lay down a beat for me as of press time.
Hannah Notess
Mar 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is basically a children's book version of "Hey gorgeous, why don't you smile more?" Thbbbbhththt.

As anyone who knows either of us might imagine, neither Sam nor I appreciated that message. So. back to the library it goes.

Also. Consent! We can teach kids about consent! This book does not.

Cute illustrations though.
Jon Nakapalau
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
P-P F is a funny story that will teach young children that they have control over how they interact with others - very important lesson.
Lee Klein
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So rhythmic it reads itself -- love the phrases ("a kaleidoscope of mope") and the smooching finale. The best of the bunch so far. ...more
Michelle Olson
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gosh I love this book. It’s short, simple, fun to read, and the illustrations are adorable.!
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
It was pretty cute, but I also had some consent questions for the kissing fish. You can't just go around kissing grumpy people. ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
So, here's the thing. My 1-year-old loves the rhyming patter and the Blub Bluuub Bluuuuuub. And we can treat it as a cute, well-illustrated story about a fish affected by the dispositional attribution fallacy.

If you imagine swapping the gender roles, it is CREEPY:

"Hey there, girl, why don't you give me a smile?"
"Uh, I'd really rather not."
"C'mon, cheer up, luv."
"Please stop pestering me."
[A stranger swoops in making unrequested, nonconsensual advances.]
"Oh, wow, now I am liberated! I'm gonna
Jun 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
First, we have animals telling the pout-pout fish he should smile, because they don't wat to see his frown. NOPE. Don't go around telling other people to smile. It's none of your business and it's rude.

Then, we have the kiss-kiss fish and the pout-pout fish randomly kissing other dish, unprovoked and uninvited. NOPE. Guess what? That's called sexual assault.

This book is full of messages I don't want to pass on to any kids
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents of young kids, fish lovers, watercolor enthusiasts.
I have young twin boys who get a story every night, so we try to get a good selection from the library. This is one that has passed the twins test and will have to be purchased for our home library.

It's sing-songy and has a repeated refrain which the boys love, and the pictures are active enough that they are not always reaching to turn the page, they actually look at the pictures as we read.

It only gets four stars instead of five because the ending is a little weak.

The story is this: A Pout-Po
Cassandra Gelvin
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Don't Read This To My Kids

This book sends absolutely the wrong message, in more ways than one. I hated it so much that I posted a video review of it on YouTube. You can find it on my channel, "Don't Read This To My Kids". Basically, the main character is upset, and the only thing his "friends" tell him is that he should smile for them, oblivious to the possibility that he might have a legitimate problem of some kind, or that feeling sad is even okay in this aquatic world. They don't want to deal
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Calling all adults who love 💕 reading to a little one! This is the funniest story with great prose to boot. Loved this so much, I love to tell others about it to share the joy! I recommend it to all new aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas!
I loved reading this story to my older granddaughter so much that when I found The Pout Pout Fish 🐟 Goes on Vacation, it was a must have for the newest granddaughter.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good story to introduce handling depression to little ones
Donna Davis
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a baby, toddler, or preschooler to shop for
It's a hard thing, buying board books (cardboard pages less likely to be ruined by tiny hands that might tear paper pages) online. I've finally got a grandchild, and obviously the thing a good Grammy buys at Christmas, is books. But I've been away from tiny people for over 15 years, and so once I bought him the good ones not already in my awesome kiddy collection, I was stumped. I saw that this one was popular, but we're only allowed to look at one or two pages on Amazon, and that makes it hard ...more
Kayla Edwards
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A cute little story about a fish with an ever-present pout and how everyone in his life tries to convince him to be happy. Not the biggest hit with my students, but a few were into it.
Justin Pauls
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Would be 5 stars but that squid is super rude.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: baby-h-books
The rhymes here are simply dazzling. Mom said the ending seems to suggest the titular fish has some boundary issues. Mom is frequently a Grade A killjoy.
Sarah Kennedy
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, challenge-2019
Another delightful read aloud. Invoking my 2017 rule for another grandchild: if you read the same book to a small child more than 20 times in one day, it counts toward your GoodReads challenge. ;)
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Aww, poor uggo with his resting blah face.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books in Rhyme and/or Children's Stories About Emotions & Attitude
Although all of his maritime friends attempt to convince the eponymous Pout-Pout Fish to cheer up, the sour-puss swimmer insists that he is what he is, and that he can't help being down in the dumps. It is only when another fish, swimming along in a "silent silver shimmer," happens by and kisses him, that our piscine hero undergoes a transformation...

Pairing an engaging tale told in rhyme with colorful, appealing artwork, The Pout-Pout Fish is a picture-book that would make an excellent read-alo
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Perfect to teach children (and perhaps a few adults!) that they can CHOOSE to be happy. Perfect for reading aloud in a library storytime - with some repeated parts allowing for audience participation and also some wonderful vocabulary and fun rhyming words. The illustrations are also VERY fun, with a wide cast of underwater sea creatures. My favorite illustration shows the pout-pout fish just after being kissed looking directly out of the center of a two-page spread - and he's actually still ups ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fantastic book; a song that is catchy, with its repetitive lyrics and hilarious onomatopoeia as well as illustrations that are colorful and silly, yet still expressive. And we absolutely loved the ending. We really enjoyed reading this book - a perfect book for bedtime!

December 2015 update: I borrowed this book again from the library to share with our two-year-old niece during her visit with my brother-in-law just before Christmas. It has the same bouncy rhythm as Bear Snores On, and i
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadia Mansoor
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
The book was fine but it is no way a children's book because of the ending :/
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 0-picture-books
We borrowed this from the library and have read it a few times now. My 15-month-old loves "Blub, Bluuub, Bluuuuuuub" and the illustrations, but I struggle with the issues of consent and Mr. Fish's friends' unwillingness to accept him for who he is. Also, it took me several reads to figure out the rhythm of the ending, and I say that as a professional musician. I understand now what the author wants from the reader, but it really bothers me. It's essentially missing half a phrase, so it feels abr ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Overcome your disadvantages, with a little extra actual affection & help instead of just nagging....

Not a good book for learning how to make predictions. The ending was totally out of the blue. But sometimes that's a good thing in a book - it's refreshing.

I didn't like it as I was first reading along, but then the ending made me realize what the author was doing, and so now I do. I still think it's a little long, a little heavy until the end, but it's fine. And I guess kids love it, so that's j
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My wife asked that I read this one aloud and she couldn't contain her laughter amongst the many 'Blubs'. This bodes well for my daughter, as long as she has a sense of humor. Otherwise, I'm dead in the water and will have to spread my dreary-wearies all over the place like my friend here. ...more
Stefanie Kline
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a CUTE sweet book!
Feb 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
I checked this book out of my school's library but it proved to be a little too hard for me to read, so mum read it to me. I liked it. ...more
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Deborah Diesen is the author of The Pout-Pout Fish, a rhyming children's picture book illustrated by Dan Hanna and published by Farrar Straus Giroux. Her book The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade was published by Tricycle Press. She lives in Michigan. Visit her web site at and her blog at

Other books in the series

The Pout-Pout Fish (1 - 10 of 29 books)
  • The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark
  • The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School
  • The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
  • The Pout-Pout Fish, Far, Far from Home
  • The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark
  • The Pout-Pout Fish and the Can't-Sleep Blues
  • The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean
  • The Pout-Pout Fish Learns to Read
  • Pout-Pout Fish: Easter Surprise
  • Pout-Pout Fish: Lucky Leprechaun

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