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Ugly Fish

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  676 Ratings  ·  148 Reviews
Ugly Fish is ugly and big and mean, and he won't share his driftwood tunnel or his special briny flakes with anyone. And that means the wimpy little fish who keep showing up in his tank have got to go. But then one day someone bigger and uglier and maybe even meaner arrives . . . and suddenly Ugly Fish isn't feeling quite so confident anymore.

From Kara LaReau, author of t
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidstuff, fish-sticks
About ten years ago, I happened on a complete aquarium kit at a yard sale for only eight bucks. What a deal, right? Of course it meant a trip to the pet store where the kids and I blew fifty dollars on fish and fish-related accessories. The store clerk was quite helpful as she advised my boys on how to carefully choose their new pets.

"Remember," she cautioned, "if one fish can fit inside another's mouth . . . IT WILL!"

Ugly Fish knows that lesson well. He is big fish (and only fish) in his tank,
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I liked this story but, oddly, I never caught on that it was a story about bullying until I read the author information on the back flap of the dust jacket. I just thought it was a story about how the tables can be turned on mean and self-centered people, and how those who are mean to others can be the victims of meanness in turn. I think what disconnected the bullying idea from the story for me was the fact that Ugly Fish ate his tank-mates. A bully doesn't generally destroy others; he wants th ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Six and four year old love this one. though to be honest I think the fact that they own a fish tank made them the think the moral of the story was, "Of COURSE you don't put fish with big mouths into the same tank as littler fish!!" rather than an anti-bullying/you get what's coming to you message that was obviously intended. ;) great illustrations and a fun read aloud to make different voices for each fish.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ugly Fish is the RULER of his tank and he likes having things his own way. He likes having his flakes each day, and he likes swimming around, but what he doesn't like is sharing any of those things with other fish.
When they enter the tank, with their friendly smiles and happy attitudes he has a very special way of dealing with them.

Ugly Fish is content to live his solitary life until one day, he has a change of heart, and wouldn't you know it, in comes Smiley Fish...a much larger an
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great illustrations, and a cautionary tale everyone sometimes needs to be reminded of, regardless of their age: If you act like a jerk, someone is going to settle your hash sooner or later.

Now rest assured, Ms Lareau does not use language like 'jerk' anywhere in this book. Instead it is about a pretty but greedy fish who did not want to share his home, despite repeated attempts to provide him with friends. When he finally comes around to the idea that it might be nice to have some company, his
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
Loved the pictures, good moral, entertaining story. The kids laughed a few times, and enjoyed the anticipation of discovering what lesson Ugly Fish was going to learn. I enjoyed that this was a book aimed at bullies instead of a book aimed at those who are bullied. Bullying requires a victim and an aggressor, and it's a problem that needs to be addressed from both angles. This book takes a look at the aggressive side of the equation in a way that is engaging, probably subtle for many kids, and i ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I have read it to children, adults, and college students, varying the message to fit the discussion. For children, there are powerful messages about bullying. For adults, there are messages about workplace politics, and how one should conduct themselves. For college students, I used this book when I taught creative writing and also when I taught a Psychology class. My own children love this book, and can relate on a simple humorous note. It is one to own, not borrow.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dr. McCracken's read aloud performance of this book made me love this book instantly. It is an entertaining story that will leave kids laughing and anticipating what comes next. The moral of the story is something that should be discussed after reading because students will have a varied natural response. The illustrations were great and engaging.

Before there was I WANT MY HAT BACK and THIS IS NOT MY HAT there was UGLY FISH.
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Epic. Definitely caught my listener's attention.

Always a pleasure - this time, my listener acted it out :-)
Hannah Givens
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was ok

...oh my god, that was really violent!
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, picture-books
Dark, but funny. Love the colors. Uncertain about intelligence of aquarium owner. Recommended.
Amelia Turvey
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
LaReau, K. (2006). Ugly fish. Ill. S. Magoon. Orlando, FL: HMH Books for Young Readers.

This book is about a fish who is ugly and mean and scary. He keeps eating his friend, until he complains about not having any friends. But then he gets eaten by his new friend.

The media used in this book by the illustrator was pen and ink.

This book is comical, but some children may find it to be sad. I think it would be good from this book to go over what types of fish can live in a tank together and what type
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: el-230
This book is not what I expected. It kind of turned out to be a violent book for small children. I would, however, use it in a first or second grade classroom to teach a lesson on being nice to others even if they are not like you or you are having a bad day. It could also teach something about what goes around comes around.
Jasmine Stocker
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Ugly Fish kind of caught me by surprise actually. The story is a little much for really little children although they might think of it as humorous. I didn't like it, the part that kids would remember would be when each of the fish was eaten. I don't like the "lesson" taught in this one and would not choose to read it to my students or my own children.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
I fail to see any positives in the message of this book. A bully fish chases any new fish in the tank and then eats them. Later, he suffers the same fate and a bigger bully fish takes over the tank. Not sure how to spin that with young readers.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So Cute! Ugly Fish wants the tank all to himself and so he is not very friendly to the other fish in the tank. When he finally gets his wish, he realizes that maybe a friend would be nice. When another fish is put into the tank, will Ugly Fish change his ways? Perfect for teaching prediction
Makenna Wheeler
ATOS: 2.2
Guided Reading:
6+1 Traits: Ideas and Voice

This is a great book with a fun twist and lesson.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ocean, pets, trouble
This book is only really suitable for a crowd you know well and know is not overly sensitive. The fish all eat each other. But it's funny!
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Not what I thought it would be. Kids loved it.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my boys' favorite books. We love the humor and lesson learned in the end.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book to read younger kids. I like the illustrations and the plot twist in the end!

Reading level
Guided reading: N

6+1 Traits
Sentence fluency
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is one of those children's books that I'm torn on. I liked the illustrations, and the story was kind of cute. But it's a little macabre for little ones.
Emily Clare
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book that has a meaningful story for students.

Lexile: 500L
ATOS Book Level: 2.2

Six+1 Traits: Ideas, Organization, & Voice
Suzanne Kunz Williams
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
This book is mean, cruel and utterly without redemptive qualities. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Miss Sarah
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
A fish doesn't want to share his tank so he eats all the new inhabitants but does he really like being alone. A little scary so preschool and up but simple words and pictures.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a funny book with a plot twist at the end! This would be very entertaining for younger kids.

Lexile Measures: 500L
DRA Levels: 24

Six Traits: Ideas, Voice, Sentence Fluency
Alejandra Tinoco
This story outlines a great lesson that children can learn about. Teaching children to respect each other and be friendly with others too.

Six Traits: Idea, Voice

Lexile: 500L
AR Level: 2.2
I read this to some school-aged kids. They liked it. It's fun to do different voices for all the different fish.
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Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. Among other celebrated titles, she edited Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and the ...more
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