Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: Pout-Pout Fish Far, Far from Home by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna


Mr. Fish has prepped and packed,
And he’s made big plans to roam.
He’s ready for adventure
On his trip away from home!
But sometimes trips have detours
And not everything goes right.
Without his favorite toy,
Can he fall asleep at night?

No children's librarian is a stranger to The Pout-Pout Fish. With some popular picture book series, it can begin to feel as if the author has started phoning it in - or in the worst cases, letting other writers churn out the text in their name, driven more by marketing than by character.

Not so with the Pout-Pout Fish! I am finding I like him more now than I did when his first title came out a decade ago. Diesen's rhymes and cadence are crisper, making this loads of fun to read aloud. The text is peppered with vocabulary words that might be unfamiliar, but which are easily understood in context (prepped, maneuvered, reflected). Hanna's illustrations, as usual, are full of fun little details to explore with your little one.

I love the messages in this title - that, just because plans don't go perfectly, that doesn't mean anything is ruined. That going outside your comfort zone can have great rewards. That being apart from the things or people we love may mean we miss them, but  it also means we have more to tell them when we are back together.

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

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