It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


I’m reading THE NOT VERY MERRY POUT-POUT FISH by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna. With it being so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, this is the perfect book to share with children of all ages.  Pout-Pout is worried about finding the PERFECT gift.  Boy, do I know that stress.  In a world that starts the Christmas commercials before Halloween, this is a great book to remind up about gifts that come from the heart.

Diesen nails the rhyming and rhythm in this books which makes it so fun to read aloud.  Here’s an example:

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 ”

Will Pout-Pout find THE perfect gift?  He has Miss Shimmer to guide him but I’ll let you read to find out how Pout-Pout solves his dilemma.  I can’t wait to share with my students,

Dan Hanna’s illustrations are bright with details which students will pour over to find surprises.


Want to know more about  Deborah Diesen? Here’s an AUTHOR Q&A: CLICK HERE


Dan Hanna answers questions, CLICK HERE


  • Author Deborah Diesen ( is a former bookseller and librarian. She lives in Grand Ledge, MI.
  • Illustrator Dan Hanna ( has over ten years experience in the animation industry. His work has appeared on BBC America and the Cartoon Network. He lives in Oxnard, California.
  • The series debuted with The Pout-Pout Fish in 2008 and was a 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.

If you live in the eastern part of the country, you’re in luck as Diesen and Hanna are on book tours.


Deborah Diesen

November 14, Square Books, Oxford, MS
November 16, Country Bookshop, Southern Pines,
November 17, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
November 18, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
November 19, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
November 20, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

Dan Hanna

November 15, WORD Books, Jersey City, NJ
November 16, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
November 17, Towne Books, Collegeville, PA
November 18, Cover to Cover, Columbus, OH
November 19, Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest, IL
November 21, Andersons, Naperville, IL

Title: The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diesen
Illustrator: Dan Hanna
Published: 2015
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K and up
Publisher: FSG
ISBN: 978-0-374-35549-4
Source: Received a review copy from PR by the Book for the Blog Book Tour.


Poetry Friday: Nasty Bugs and Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems

Today I have two poetry books to share.  Both books are about the same topic: bugs except boy howdy, they are completely different. 

NASTY BUGS, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Will Terry is a collection of  sixteen poems about bugs. Bugs that you might not be especially fond of such as chiggers, lice, and ticks.  Or how about cockroaches, bedbugs, or fleas?  Even though the topics are making me  itch as I type, engaged second graders laughed and giggled, eewed and itched. They can all relate to this pesky pest.   Take a look at lice for example:

Ridiculous Pediculus
O tiny vampire louse
You crawl from head
                                  to head
                                       to head
from house
                     to house
                                    to house.

Older than Columbus,
you reached the New World first.

Terry’s exaggerated, bright and fun illustration of humongous lice complemented the poem.At the end of NASTY BUGS, there is an appendix with information on the bugs featured in the book including the scientific name.

BUG OFF! CREEPY CRAWLY POEMS by Jane Yolen and photographs by Jason Stemple,  is a collection of thirteen creepy crawly insects.  Stemple’s photography is incredible as is his website.  As I photographer, I am curious about how he gets his shots and how many photos he takes for the perfect shot.   Yolen’s introduction writes of her growing appreciation of insects and encourages readers to write their own poems.  She reminds  readers to choose exactly the right word.   Here are a couple of my favorite lines from the book:

A tu-tu clad dancer ~ “Butterfly to a Flower”

You are a spinner of fibs
Let us make a poem together ~ “Spider to the Poet”

With angel wings of dark-stained glass ~ “Dragonfly Lights”

Each page has an inset with information about the insect.

Library Connections:  I used these two books with students by reading poems from each.  We compared the poems that were on the same insect (there are four insects: ants, ticks, flies and bees/wasps.  Students had terrific comments about the illustrations, photos, and the tone of the poems.

Common Core tie-in: Reading Literature, Key Ideas and Details: Compare and contrast, determining meanings of words and determining the theme of the text.

Title: Nasty Bugs
Editor: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrator: Will Terry
Published: 2012
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 3-5
Publisher: Dial for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3716-87
Source:  Sent by publisher for CYBILS consideration.

Title: Bug Off! Creepy Crawly Poems
Author: Jane Yolen
Photographer: Jason Stemple
Published: 2012
Pages: 31
Reading Level: 3-5
Publisher: Wordsong
ISBN: 978-1-59078-862-2
Source:  Sent by publisher for CYBILS consideration.

Poetry Friday is being held at Read, Write, Howl!

Happy Reading.