Diesen, Deborah. Smile, Pout-Pout Fish. Book Review.

This is a simple, rhyming board book with one sentence or phrase on each page. It begins “Smile, Mr. Fish!/You look so down/With your glum-glum face/And your pout-pout frown.” The rhythm and rhyme is kept throughout the book and pulls the reader forward. Accompanied by evocative, soft pastel pictures, the story exposes toddlers to a variety of emotions. The words and illustrations are funny and sweet. Children are delighted when the book ends with, “Now you look happy: What a smile, Mr. Fish!”

My 20-month-old granddaughter loved this book from the first read although it took a bit of discussion for her to understand words like glum and smooch. But she quickly became attached to the big-eyed sad fish.

It’s difficult to find such engaging and appropriate books for children under the age of two.


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