Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 229: The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

The original Pout-Pout Fish was one of the very first books I featured on this blog, and my kids and I love it just as much now as we did then.  I've given copies to several friends over the years, and just gave a copy to my son's teacher to add to the classroom library.  It's just such a fun, wonderful story!  Somehow, even though we got the sequel shortly thereafter, I haven't written about it until now. I mistakenly assumed that I had, so without further ado, here you go!

The Pout-Pout Fish and the Big-Big Dark is back on heavy rotation here in our house, and for good reason.  It's silly, sweet, and an all-around great read!  In this charming sequel, Mr. Pout sets out to help his friend Ms. Clam retrieve her lost pearl.  As we follow him in his quest, we learn that although he has many talents that will help him succeed, there is one problem. "I'm fast as a sailfish, I'm strong as a shark, I'm smart as a dolphin… But I'm scared of the dark!"  He grows increasingly more nervous as he swims deeper, but is cheered on by a sweet, hidden voice that encourages him along the way.  When it finally gets too dark and he decides to turn back, Miss Shimmer reveals herself and joins him so that they may continue on together.  "Two are faster than a sailfish, two are stronger than a shark, two are smarter than a dolphin, two are BIGGER than the dark!"  With the help of Mr. Lantern, the pair finds the pearl, happily returning it to their friend.

Deborah Diesen's rhymes make the story easy and fun to read aloud, and Dan Hanna's illustrations are simply fantastic!  We just love his subtle humor and clever drawings, so be sure to look closely as you read.  You might even find a lantern fish reading a copy of The Pout-Pout Fish!  We especially love the drawings that accompany Mr. Pout's refrain, as well as the silly signs hanging on the angler fish on the page below.  My son always stops and grabs the book out of my hand to read these closely each time, giggling as he reads: "Fun and games in here!  Famous cave of mystery!  Suckers here!" So fun!

The message of the story is wonderful, too, of course, for aren't we all a little stronger and braver sometimes thanks to the support and encouragement of our friends?

When I gave this book to my son for his fourth birthday, he tore off the wrapping paper and we had to stop and read it right then and there, even with a bigger present waiting to be opened right next to him.  My husband snapped a picture of us reading it together, and I shared it on this blog's facebook page.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that both Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna had seen and liked the picture!  I hadn't even mentioned the title in the photo -- only the back cover was visible -- but I hope that they see this post, as well, and know just how much we love their stories.  Word has it that another Pout-Pout story is coming out in June:  The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School.  You can bet we'll be looking out for it when it is released.  In the meantime, if you haven't yet discovered these stories, look for them the next time you visit your library.  Hopefully, you and your children will enjoy them as much as we do.  Keep up the great work, Deborah and Dan!


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