Books Oddballs and Misfits Picture Books Poetry Friday Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

You Are What You Choose to Be: Learning A Valuable Life Lesson from Deborah Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish

poetry friday

Wonderful widget crafted by the extremely talented Iphigene.
Wonderful widget crafted by the extremely talented Iphigene.

“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”
– Henry David Thoreau


Deep in the water
Where the fish hang out
Lives a glum gloomy swimmer
With an ever-present pout.

Joining us today for Poetry Friday is a gloomy fish known to his fellow sea creatures as “the pout-pout fish.” Deborah Diesen’s picture book, The Pout-Pout Fish, is a classic find for children. With brightly colored, pen-and-ink illustrations by Dan Hanna, whose work has appeared on Cartoon Network, Deborah Diesen’s rhyming picture book is a testament to a classic quote by C.S. Lewis:

“We are what we believe we are.” 

Many times, when we feel downtrodden, we let our emotions take over and we forget that we are (still!) in control of our lives. While it is true that we cannot control the things that happen to us (sometimes!), there’s definitely something we can do about how we feel or think about it – or even how the world perceives us.


I was randomly shopping at Barnes & Noble yesterday and I purchased the paperback book and CD storytime set of The Pout-Pout Fish. Along with the book is the CD containing the story of The Pout-Pout Fish, read by Alexander Gould, the voice of Nemo in Disney Pixar’s delightful Finding Nemo. I haven’t listened to the CD yet (yes, it’s a blasphemy of sort!) but I’ll make it a top priority when I get my next two days off.

Here are a few lines from the book:

Along comes an octopus
With eight great arms
Covered on the underside
With tiny sucker charms.

“Hey Mr. Fish,
Let me tell it to you straight.
Your hulky-bulky sulking
Is an unattractive trait!”

Says the fish to his friend,
“Mr. Eight, my chum,
With a mouth like mine,
I am destined to be glum

“I’m a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face,
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place.”

Parent and Teacher Resources

Parents and teachers can engage their kids in activities related to this picture book. Some curriculum ideas are presented in Deborah Diesen’s website including downloadable activity sheets like a fingerplay rhyme, word find, word ladder, and crossword puzzle among others. Mommy and Me Book Club writes a beautiful post about The Pout-Pout Fish filled with adorable pictures and fun activity ideas. Parents and teachers can also download sketches for a coloring activity.

The Pout-Pout Fish Song

Because it was his daughter’s favorite picture book, a guy named Gordon True decides to add music and turn the book into a song. Take a listen. It has a pretty catchy tune!

Poetry Friday round-up is hosted today by the fabulous Robyn Hood Black.

What about you dear friends?
Are you feeling glum or up for some fun?
What poem do you have for us today?


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 74 of 150

Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

3 comments on “You Are What You Choose to Be: Learning A Valuable Life Lesson from Deborah Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish

  1. What a great post, Fats! A fun way to look at an oh-so-real-truth. Enjoyed the music!


  2. As they say, attitude is everything! Thanks for sharing the Pout-Pout with us, Fats!


  3. Thank you for your kind words about The Pout-Pout Fish! Best Fishes to you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: