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Poor Little Guy

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  163 reviews
With the cheeky twist of Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat and the graphic appeal of Mo Willems, Poor Little Guy will leave kids giggling…and begging for rereads!

What do you do when you're so tiny that the bigger ocean creatures think you might even taste adorable?

An itsy-bitsy, glasses-wearing fish is minding his own business when a playful (and hungry) octopus snatches
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Dial Books
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  843 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Aliza Werner
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Had the feel of I WANT MY HAT BACK. Hilarious twist at the end.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An innocent, nerdy, bespectacled pufferfish is just swimming along minding his own business totally unaware that a huge eye is watching his every move. A long tentacle sneaks up behind him and snatches him up.

"Hello, little guy! Let's play.../Catch of the Day!"

A big old bully octopus has entrapped the little guy. His captor thinks up multiple games to play with the poor ensnared little fish. He toys with him like a cat playing with a mouse. The octopus creates a maze, a cage, and then ..... a s
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
A cute little fish is swimming along, minding his own business in this new picture-book from animator Elanna Allen, only to be caught by an octopus and made to 'play' a variety of games. When the octopus concludes that the little fish might be just as tasty and he is adorable, he tries to swallow him, only to receive an unwelcome surprise in the form of spines in his tongue, when the little fish expands.

Although the artwork in Poor Little Guy is really quite charming, with an appealing color pal
Loved that twist at the end, especially after all the poor little guy went through. Yet it makes me wonder if he is as impervious as the end papers show. School-age should enjoy the humor and appreciate the illustrations. Could work in storytime, though I may have to point out a couple of things in the illustrations. Lap-read and read-alone will enjoy as well.

2/15/17 Used as opener for F preschool theme. Kids and adults both loved this. Mostly it is all in the pictures and they enjoyed that. Gre
YA Reads Book Reviews
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nichole
Originally posted on, reviewed by Nichole.

I read Poor Little Guy at story time, recently, and the kids LOVED it! We’ve recently discovered that we love wordless picture books because we can add our own words and make up our own story as we look at the pictures. The bold visuals in Poor Little Guy further enhanced the kids’ joy as they gasped and ooh’d and aah’d over the story that they created. This one was a big hit! I highly recommend it!
Ocean animals
survival skills: resourcefulness; defense-mechanism
Clever little fish
Adult humor "Catch of the Day"
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
An octopus thinks this little fish is absolutely adorable. He plays with him and annoys him...and thinks maybe he will even taste adorable.
Such a fun story with a twist.
Those who root for the underdog will enjoy this clever picture book. A little fish is swimming along, minding his own business when he's grabbed and bullied by a much bigger animal. But the little fish has way more to him than meets the eye, and he's got a big surprise for his tormentor! Vibrant, digitally colored illustrations go a long way to help tell this story.
A little fish gets pushed around by an octopus, but the little fish has a big surprise defense mechanism.

Pencil and ink illustrations were finished digitally and include the typeface in the artwork such that each line of the story is as artistic as a beautifully designed sign or print.

Michele Knott
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
LOL book - this one will be so fun to read out loud and see reactions!
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: storytime-books
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A lovely and unusual use of typeface in picture books, visually captivating, and a wonderful reversal!
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is wonderful! Incredible illustrations and a magnificent surprise.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Don't mess with David, Goliath. You just might get your comeuppance.
Franki Sibberson
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Would make a fun read for Bookaday in the classroom.
Nancy Kotkin
The surprise ending redeems this picture book, but that octopus is quite a bully.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Not what I expected at all!


I totally thought this book would be about a little fish that gets picked on or something and everyone feels sorry for him hence the title "Poor Little Guy", but it was not about that at all! The little fish is actually a puffer fish and when someone tries to eat the puffer fish it puffs up and leaves needles in the animal's mouth as defending itself. So in the story this octopus kept bothering the puffer fish, calling it cute and wanting to play with t
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Allen, Elanna. Poor Little Guy, PICTURE BOOK. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016. $16.99.

One tiny little blowfish is always being stalked by the bigger fish in the ocean. When one octopus plays game after game with him, threatening to make him a meal, the tiny blowfish begins to get angry and finally blows up his tiny, spiky body. The octopus lets him swim away while he tends to his sore tongue. The blowfish goes along until he comes to his next adversary… a shark.

The cover of this book is so
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a story that teaches kids not to judge something simply based on how small it is. Big [and often times dangerous] things can come in itty bitty packages.

The art is very simple and cute, the words flow around the page but they are easy enough for young readers to understand [even though in some sections its written in cursive, that might slow some parents down]. I thought it was cute, I especially loved that the puffer fish was my favorite color [yellow], it's a nice book to have for quick r
Raven DeLajour
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
I swear that this lovely children's book was specially written for me. Perhaps that is why I empathized with Little Guy so much; being called adorable and cute when you are 29 years old feels super condescending and kills any ounce of sex appeal I manage to muster. It feels a little strange to bring that up in regard to a children's book, but I sincerely believe that I am a little girl trapped in a woman's body, attempting to navigate this scary, confusing world without a clue as to what I am do ...more
A glasses-wearing pufferfish is being followed by a great, white...octopus! The octopus wants to play. He suggests many games, all of which are disliked by the pufferfish. The octopus finds the little fish so adorable that he must taste him. But the moment he puts him in his mouth the pufferfish inflates himself leaving the octopus with painful needles in his mouth. A great twist to the end of fun storytime story.
Megan Frangia
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 340-bookshelf
Picture Book

This book is about a little puffer fish who is bullied by an octopus, before finally getting revenge before the octopus tries to eat him. The pictures are cute, but the surprise twist at the end is a little dark. The fact that the octopus is trying to eat him is covered up by the cuteness of the pictures so you don’t really get an emotional attachment to the puffer fish or feel his actions are justified.
OMG love!! Really, it's about the twist at the end, but I also give kudos for the large, clear illustrations, and expressive characters.

Octopus just wants to play--but, as those of us with smaller structures know, we are easily tossed around by the bigger kids when they begin to play rough like octopus. However, smaller fish (and folk) have their own skills and strengths, and octopus is about to find that out the hard way.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Adorable! The pufferfish is more than it seems. 😊 Food chain, creature powers, defense ideas.

This is a great example of a book-type that kids copy mimic with their own writing and illustrating. There are very few words, simple big pictures, and one clever idea/fact. Would love to use this as the example for a Kinder-1st grade writing project.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Giant glasses on a tiny fish makes him look sweeet and vulnerable. So when a big octopus starts messing around with the poor guy--good natured joshing and yet, could be interpreted as bullying--it doesn't look like it'll go well. But the poor little guy isn't so vulnerable after all. Simple but evocative take on standing up for yourself.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: el-230
"Poor Little Guy" helps in explaining why you should not judge someone by the way that they look. With this being said the story is hard to follow. As an adult I noticed myself at first not noticing the themes of this book, but after re-reading it I began to understand the point of this children's book. With a little explaining this book would be great for younger children.
Jo Oehrlein
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love the perspective in this book. It takes several pages for us to realize the green page background is showing us part of an octopus and the fish is just so much smaller than the octopus.

The big octopus is hungry (and a bit of a bully -- teasing/playing with the fish) and eventually tries to eat the poor little fish, only to discover that the fish is a blowfish and not so easy an eat.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
A nerdy little fish (he has glasses) is harassed by an octopus whose mother did not tell him about not playing with his food. The octopus gets its comeuppance when it actually tries to eat little nerdy fish. Ha! Great surprise!
Illustrations are simple and large - good for storytime.
Lynn  Davidson
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a nearly wordless book with lovely illustrations.
A little fish who seems harmless and defenseless is caught and teased by an octopus, and then about to be eaten. Oh-oh! The little fish gives the octopus quite a surprise!
This is a book that will delight readers.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Simple story and illustrations about a little blowfish that delivers a big surprise when other "bigger" fish think they can eat him. A book full of ironic surprises that kids think are hysterical! Lots of fun.
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