Today’s PPBF selection is from our May featured author – Debbie Diesen!

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

Written by Debbie Diesen, Illustrated by Dan Hana

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, August, 2010

Suitable for: Ages 2-8

Themes/Topics: Ocean, Fish, Friendship, Fears, Bravery, Scared of the Dark

Opening/Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Mr. Fish goes on an undersea adventure to reclaim Ms. Clam’s lost pearl. Repeating his mantra, “I’m FAST as a sailfish,/I’m STRONG as a shark,/I’m SMART as a dolphin,” he nervously admits, “But I’m SCARED OF THE DARK!” As he ventures through deeper and darker waters, his resolution falters: “I know I made a promise,/But this fish is headin’ back!” With the help of Miss Shimmer and Mr. Lantern, he not only conquers his fears, but also finds the missing pearl. The playful, rhyming verse is well matched with Hanna’s funny cartoon illustrations. The whimsical sea creatures include a puffer fish reading Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish (Farrar, 2008). A buoyant tale.

Activities:  Debbie Diesen’s website contains a list of curriculum ideas and activities, all available for free.  She also provides links to the illustrator Dan Hanna’s many add-on activities, including live Pout-Pout films!

Why I Like This Book: So seldom do you get a sequel or a companion to a picture book with a beloved character that is as good or even better than the first one.  I’m glad to say The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark is an exception!  In fact, my son likes this one even more than The Pout-Pout Fish, probably because he is a little afraid of the dark himself. 🙂  Kudos to Debbie for following up one masterpiece with another!

For more fantastic picture books and resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

Categories: 12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Rhyming · Tags: , , , , , ,



  1. sharon from sharon stanley writes

    wow, this is everything you ever wanted to know about rhyme but were afraid to ask! excellent post…thanks so much!

  2. Julie, your PPBF link isn’t working. I had to go to your site directly and click on the blog. I didn’t know there was a sequel to the Pout Pout Fish. I’ll see if I can find this one.

    • Kirsten, thanks for letting me know! I let my developer know. Hope to get that sorted out soon.

  3. We love the pout-pout fish around here, too! Great choice.

    Ditto to what Kirsten said about the link.

  4. I enjoyed the first one. We’ll have to check this one out too. Love the site. I did limited exploration via the iPhone. Today, I’ve looked around. Hmm. Florence.

    • Florence is amazing, and so are my plans for the retreat! *tease, tease* 🙂

  5. Oh, I *love* The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark! It’s a great book for kids who deal with fears of any sort, and it’s a delightful read.

    I was in a bookstore in Minnesota last year, roaming the kids’ section to my heart’s content, and I heard some familiar words… a staff person was doing story time, and was reading The Pout-Pout Fish! When I got home, I posted that incident on Debbie Diesen’s blog, because it had been such a delightful experience to hear it. (Although I admit I was itching to say to the staff person, “PLEASE let me read it to the kids instead!” because I wasn’t keen on the way she was reading.)

    • That’s so funny Beth! I can’t stand it when people read PBs to kids in a monotone or without acting out the characters. PBs are meant to be performed!

      • This one was using a sing-song that was far too sing-songy.

        I love “performing” picture books as well. One of the best things anyone ever said to me about my reading was once when I was reading The Three Bears to my cousin’s daughter Julie (!) and my cousin walked in as I was doing the different voices. She later said to me it was just like hearing my Mum reading to the cousin’s younger sister years before. I loved that!

  6. I love these books! I’m so glad you added this one to the list – thanks! 🙂

  7. Love the sound of this, Julie and your website is fab!

    • Thanks Catherine! I know you would LOVE this book with your poetic mind and heart! 🙂

  8. I hoped after Debbie’s wonderful post that you would be posting this one today! Making such a good sequel is quite something. Love the live PoutPout fish films.

    • My son asked me to ask Debbie if there would be more from the Pout-Pout Fish. He loves him that much. So far she’s staying mum though. 🙂 It is indeed difficult to write a sequel that more than meets expectations, which is another reason Debbie is one of my PB heroes.

  9. This looks great…I haven’t heard of it but I think my son might like it…we’re going through a scared phase right now, which has left me quite bleary eyed and behind on blogging! 🙂

  10. I LOVE that cover! Thanks for sharing this pick Julie 🙂

  11. I can’t wait to check this one out. The illustrations are fabulous! It sounds like a book that my kids will love. Thanks for the review.

  12. I really need to get my hands on this book and the previous one. I love the lyrical language.

  13. I loved the first book! That’s great you like the sequel even better. The illustrations look bright and engaging. Will have to check this one out for my granddaughter. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Pout-Pout Fish is a favorite in our house! I appreciate even more that now that I know more about Debbie Diesen! Love the orange on your site by the way!

  15. How cool to choose your PPBF as this month’s author too! Julie, I absolutely love your new site! The bright colors and the user friendly aspect of it are wonderful. Did you use a specific theme? I need to work on mine this summer! Cheers!

    • Thanks so much Loni! I’m not sure which theme I started with, but I know the colors, etc. were customized to my choices. I can ask my developer which theme it was though, if that would be helpful.

  16. I LOVE your new site! It is so colorful and is such a happy place!
    Can you add a like button?

    • Thanks Susie! At the bottom of the right-hand sidebar there are is Facebook Like button. But did you mean a like button for posts?

  17. Pout sounds like an adorable book. 🙂

  18. I love the Pout-Pout fish books!

  19. What a great and well-written post. I shared it, so others can benefit from the great advice. (hope that’s okay!) Thanks for 12 X 12. I am loving it! Donna Koppelman

  20. this is a very cute book….. love the colours, and beautiful story. This is a cool website Julie!

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