Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish: Children's Book Review, Author Interview and Giveaway

About the book:
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.

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.

Learn more at www.poutpoutfish.com.

Purchase at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

My thoughts:
The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish perfectly captures the quest for the “perfect” presents that seems to consume us every year. And it’s a wonderful reminder that the best gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive or fancy. They are the gifts that are given with thought and made uniquely for those we love. Both children and adults will enjoy reading this book and sharing in the joy of Christmas: spending time with the special people in our lives.

An Interview with the Author, Deborah Diesen

How did you come up with the original Pout-Pout fish book in 2008?
The story grew out of an actual pout! One day many, many years ago, when my elder son was a preschooler, he was having a very grouchy afternoon. Hoping to amuse him, I made an exaggerated pouty face at him. He smiled and then pouted right back, which got us both laughing. “We look like fish,” I said. “Like pout-pout fish!” As soon as I said that out loud, it became a story idea. I jotted the idea down and I started writing The Pout-Pout Fish that same day. Years later, I started sending the story to publishers, and in 2005 it was accepted at Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. The book was published in 2008 and began a series of stories, all featuring Mr. Fish, his friends, and their adventures.

Since the first book, we’ve seen Mr. Fish go to school, learn to smile, face the dark, discover how to dream and play hide-and-seek. What do kids (and their parents) love most about the series?
I think one of the things that makes Mr. Fish an appealing character for many kids and parents is that kids and parents alike can identify with his experiences. Toddlers sometimes pout; so do adults! Preschoolers have things they’re scared of; so do adults! Kindergarteners get nervous about starting something new; so do adults! Mr. Fish’s experiences provide a way for kids and grown-ups to explore those issues together. In addition, the stories have rhyme, repetition, and wordplay, which are fun in a read-aloud book. And Dan Hanna’s illustrations! They’re fantastic. They truly bring the stories to life.

What is Mr. Fish up to now? Does he have a case of the “dreary wearies” in the latest book, too?
Mr. Fish’s newest adventure is called The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish. In it, Mr. Fish is in a bit of a holiday panic, searching for perfect gifts for all of his friends. His shopping trip is unsuccessful, and Mr. Fish is sure that he’s let all of his friends down. But his friend Miss Shimmer reminds him that the best gifts of all come straight from the heart, and she helps him craft simple and meaningful presents to bring to the holiday party. His friends are delighted with their presents, and together everyone celebrates peace, joy, and love – what a very merry gift!

What do you hope young readers (ages 3-6) will learn from The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish? Is there a message here for grown-ups as well?
I hope that Mr. Fish’s latest tale will help children to realize that presents don’t need to be expensive or complicated or splashy. Simple, heartfelt presents that connect us to one another are the best gifts of all. A drawing; a craft project; time spent together; even just a smile! These sorts of gifts are the most cherished and the most enduring. It’s a lesson we grown-ups have to re-learn periodically as well.

Do you have any tips for parents of toddlers about the joy of giving presents, rather than just receiving them, this holiday season?
Kids love to give presents, and they especially love having an active role in the process of creating the presents. Try a craft idea or project that’s extremely simple and stress-free, and then let your child have at it with a minimum of help. The more messy, lopsided, and imperfect the results the better! Have fun with the process, and as you do you’ll create not just gifts but memories as well.

How do you and the illustrator, Dan Hanna, work together on the books? (Are there any special stories about the illustrations on Not Very Merry that you can share?)
I absolutely adore Dan’s art, and I credit it as the reason for the success of the series. We work independently of one another during the creation of the books. I work with our editor on the stories; then, when a story is finished and ready, she passes it along to Dan. Dan moves through the art creation process, from sketches to finished product, working with our editor and with the art director. I do see some of the steps along the way, but during the illustration process the author’s most important task is to stay out of the way! And that’s for the best, because it allows the artist to bring the story to life in the way only an artist can. Dan brings a thousand times more to the illustrations than I could ever begin to imagine – the characters and their expressions; the settings and their details; and all the funny and quirky extras. For instance, in The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, one of the spreads shows a store full of what I describe in the text as shiny trinkets and handy gadgets. Dan took that description and brought it alive by imagining, drawing, and labeling shelf after shelf in the gift shop with hilarious and unique sea gifts. His creativity is amazing. I feel very grateful and happy to get to make books with Dan!

Any future plans for Mr. Fish? What adventures can we expect to see him in next?
Mr. Fish has a new mini-adventure coming out later this year called Kiss-Kiss, Pout-Pout Fish. This mini-adventure, like the previous mini-adventures Smile, Pout-Pout Fish and Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish, is a very short board book with just a few words per page, meant for babies and young toddlers. In spring 2016, there will be a touch-and-feel alphabet book and a sticker book. Another mini-adventure, called Trick or Treat, Pout-Pout Fish, will arrive later in 2016. And in 2017, Mr. Fish will be in a new full-length hardcover called The Pout-Pout Fish, Far, Far from Home. He stays pretty busy these days! But he’s enjoying all of his adventures. As am I!

Visit the author’s website at www.deborahdiesen.com. Meet Deborah Diesen during her 12-city book tour from November 14-21. Dates and locations can be found at www.prbythebook.com/pout-pout.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a hardcover copy of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 24, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

72 comments:

  1. Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish would be perfect for my nephew

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  2. I'd love to read The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark with my grandsons, too!

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  3. Such cute books! I would love to share Smile Pout-Pout Fish with my students.

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  4. Anonymous6:56 AM

    vera wilson said

    Smile Pout Pout Fish

    snoopysnop1 at yahoo dot com

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  5. I also like Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish

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  6. I love Deborah Diesen's books! I would love to read Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish with my family.

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  7. Lift-the-Flap Tab: Hide and Seek, Pout-Pout Fish is one I'd like to share with my grandkids :)

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  8. the book
    Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

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  9. I think my son would like "Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish".

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  10. We've read several of the Pout-Pou Fish Books and loved them but we have not read Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School. I think my grandson would love that one!

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  11. I think my daughter would LOVE this!

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  12. Smile Pout-Pout Fish is so cute love them for my little nephew he would love to read them.

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  13. I'd love to read Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish with out little guy.

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  14. Lift-the-Flap Tab: Hide and Seek, Pout-Pout Fish looks like a great book for the younger one.

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  15. I'd also like Smile Pout-Pout Fish. These are really cute books.

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  16. I would love to read Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish to my family!
    addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com
    Ashley C

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  17. Smile The Pout Pout Fish looks like a book the grandkids would like to read with me.

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  18. we love those books we have the The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark and would love to have more

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  19. we love those books we have the The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark and would love some more

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  20. I'd like to read smile pout pout fish. I love these books and think they're cute!

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  21. Deborah Diesen is so talented. I love her original Pout-Pout Fish book and have a signed copy!

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  22. meghan b11:04 AM

    My daughter loves put put searches for a friend

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  23. We own and love the The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark, it's a wonderful book

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  24. We'd like the read the original book: The Pout-Pout fish.

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  25. I didn't realize there were so many! My kids love the original Pout Pout fish! I would love to read The Pout-Pout Fish Book & Fish Tank as well.

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  26. I'd like to read the original The Pout-Pout Fish book.

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  27. Anonymous2:47 PM

    Sweet Dreams Pout Pout Fish :)

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  28. The fish book and fish tank

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  29. The Pout Pout Fish in the Big Dark sounds like the perfect book for my little grandson! But the original book has a spot on my bookshelf too!

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  30. I would love to read Smile Pout-Pout Fish to my kids.

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  31. We would love to read Smile Pout-Pout Fish

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  32. The grands love Hide and Seek, Pout-Pout Fish.

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  33. Sharon cubic10:28 PM

    Sweet dreams pout pout fish looks really cute.

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  34. Daniel M10:31 PM

    sweet dreams pout pout fish - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

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  35. I would like sweet dreams pout fish for my Granddaughter

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  36. Nicole Lancaster11:06 PM

    I would love to read with my family the Kiss, Kiss, Pout-Pout Fish book.

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  37. I think my grandson would like The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark.

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  38. My kids are all about the books!!!

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  39. Haven't read any yet, so would love to start with the first book.

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  40. Jennifer Rogers5:14 AM

    We would love to read Smile Pout Pout Fish also!
    j1man1r66@etex.et
    Jennifer Rogers

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  41. I think my kids would like smile pout pout fish

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  42. Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish

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  43. Our little ones would love "Lift-the-Flap Tab: Hide and Seek, Pout-Pout Fish."

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  44. I would like the Pout Pout Fish In the Big Dark

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  45. I LOVE the Pout-Pout Fish books! I would like to read The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark. I haven't read that one yet.

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  46. The original The Pout-Pout Fish is my granddaughter's favorite book... she has always loved to join in on the Glug Glug Glug part!

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  47. I would enjoy reading smile pout pout fish with my daughter

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  48. we would enjoy sweet dreams pout pout fish

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  49. We'd love to read Smile pout pout fish!

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  50. Anonymous9:31 PM

    My little one would love hide and seek pout pout fish!
    megan tilley
    countrycamogirl89@yahoo.com

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  51. Smile Pout Pout Fish looks delightful.

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  52. I like the Smile Pout Pout Fish

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  53. I would love to share Kiss, Kiss Pout Pout fish with my granddaughter.

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  54. I like the Kiss, Kiss, Pout-Pout Fish.

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  55. I would love to have Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish.

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  56. These are such cute books! My kids would love them all! But The one they'd like most I think would be
    The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark!

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  57. would love to read this to my daughter.

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  58. Smile Pout-Pout Fish sounds cute too.

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  59. These look like really cute books. I would also love to have The Pout-Pout Fish goes to School to read to my granddaughters!

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  60. Oh I would also love to read the The Pout-Pout Fish goes to School! These look so adorable!

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  61. Smile Pout Pout Fish looks fun
    hrddiana556@gmail.com

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  62. Anonymous10:07 AM

    I'd like to also read the Hide & Seek Pout Pout fish book.
    treasuretoday@aol.com
    Pam C.

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  63. Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

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  64. Smile, Pout Pout fish looks absolutely adorable. I know my son would love it.
    Jaimebroadwater@gmail.com

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  65. We would also love the Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish.

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  66. I would also love the "sweet dreams,pout pout fish" book.It would make a great bedtime story! (courtney hennagir on rafflecopter)

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  67. I like the Lift-the-Flap Tab: Hide and Seek, Pout-Pout Fish. Thank you

    candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

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  68. sweet dreams pout pout fish my little niece would love this. thankyou, ken pohl19@comcast.net

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  69. I'd love to read The Pout-Pout Fish goes to School with my niece, who is in 1st grade!

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  70. Nancy5:41 PM

    I also like Smile Pout-Pout Fish.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  71. I think Sweet Dreams Pout Pout Fish would be a good book for my daughter!

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  72. I think the The Pout-Pout Fish Book & Fish Tank would be fun!

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