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The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen & Dan Hanna

The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen & Dan Hanna

The grumpiest fish in children’s literature is back with another case of “the dreary wearies.” This time, Mr. Fish, star of The New York Times bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series, is down in the dumps over holiday shopping. With a message for readers of all ages, The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish finds Mr. Fish so consumed with buying the perfect gift for each of his friends that he forgets the true meaning of the holidays:

“A gift should be big,
And a gift should be bright.
And a gift should be perfect—
Guaranteed to bring delight.
And a gift should have meaning,
Plus a bit of bling-zing,
So I’ll shop till I drop
For each just-right thing.”


When Mr. Fish—with his signature Pout-Pout Fish frown—comes up empty-handed, Miss Shimmer intervenes with a plan to make homemade gifts. He soon learns that it’s not about busting the budget or gifting the season’s hottest item, but giving from the heart. Together they experience the joy that comes from giving and sharing— the merriest gifts of all.

Written by former bookseller and librarian Deborah Diesen with illustrations by veteran children’s artist Dan Hanna, The Pout-Pout Fish was a 2008 Time Magazine “Top Ten Children’s Book.” Since then, Mr. Fish has won over the hearts of millions of young readers as he Goes to School, faces the Big-Big Dark, learns to Smile, discovers how to Dream, and plays Hide-and-Seek. Today there are more than 2.5 million Pout-Pout Fish books in print.

The fun repetitive rhyme throughout The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish is one that kids will find themselves chanting along to as Mr. Fish hunts for the perfect gifts for each of his friends. Thankfully, along comes Miss Shimmer to save the day and show him that the best gifts come from the heart.

The illustrations in this book are a gem in and of themselves.  There are fun little details that can be found on every page.  My favourite is when Mr. Fish is browsing around in the first store.  On the shelves you can find such things as “Blackbeard’s other beard”, “Davy Jone’s Gym Locker”, and “das boot”.  I got a bit of a giggle out of that, well done Mr. Hanna!

The story itself is adorable and a great way to teach young children about one facet of the Christmas season – gift giving.


About the Author & Illustrator

Deborah Diesen grew up in Midland, Michigan, and started writing poems at a young age. She has worked as a bookseller and a librarian, and now works for a small nonprofit organization, but her greatest joy comes from writing for children. She lives with her family in Grand Ledge, Michigan.
Dan Hanna has over ten years experience in the animation industry, and his work has appeared on BBC America and the Cartoon Network. He lives in Oxnard, California.


kathy downey

Monday 7th of December 2015

Thanks for the review it sounds like such a cute story.Actually first time i heard the name