The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

poutpout1Here is a rhythmic tale of a down-and-out fish. One who has given up on life because of the way his face looks.  Basically, lips of the Pout-pout fish naturally poke out and turn down like a pout… so day after day, he swims through the ocean community he lives in spreading gloom and doom to whoever he meets.

Several of his acquaintances try to counsel and advise him away from his negativity.  These include a clam, jellyfish, squid, and an octopus.  I imagine these characters may have been through some difficult life experiences themselves and want to share the wisdom they have gained with the pout-pout fish.  (The octopus seems the most sensible…don’t know why, he just does…maybe it’s all the arms.)

Each bit of advice offered is witty and clever.  My favorite comes from the squid: “Hey Mr. Fish, you kaleidoscope of mope, How about a smile? a little joy?  a little hope?”  Mr. Fish’s responses are always adamantly focused on the one thing that is wrong (his lips), despite all the things about him that are right.  He is determined that his face is only made for pouts.


The kind soul who finally turns things around for the pout-pout fish is a shimmering, silver lady fish.  She doesn’t give a word of advice…only plants a big kiss on his pout.  This changes his whole outlook on life…as he realizes his mouth was made for kissing, not pouting.  He promptly goes and finds all those advice-giving scaly sages and gives them each a smooch.  From then on, Mr. Kiss-Kiss fish and the silver ladyfish live smoochily ever after.

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