Review of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen

Not Very Merry CoverReviewed by Kirsti Call

I grew up making hand crafted gifts for loved one. After sharing this with my kids, The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish, written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna arrived in the mail.  Its arrival could not have been more timely.  I had just encouraged my kids to make gifts for Christmas instead of spending money, and reading this book reinforced my point.  Gifts from the heart are always the best.  In a commercial world, this delightful story encourages creativity and giving the kinds of gifts that really matter.  

Mr. Fish’s attempt to buy gifts is filled with obstacles and he feels glum until Miss Shimmer’s optimism helps him see that making gifts will solve his problem. The message of creativity, giving gifts from the heart, and friendship are strengthened with inviting illustrations and interesting details on each page. The rollicking rhyme and repeating refrain helps kids engage and remember the message.

“For his gifts were big.

And  his gifts were be bright.

And his gifts were perfect

And they all brought delight!

And his gifts had meaning

Plus a bit of bling-zing,

And his each and every friend

loved their just right thing.”

We’ll be reading this book again as we try to give the best gifts this Holiday season!

Do you know of any other children’s books that encourage homemade gifts?



  1. We encouraged both our girls to make their own gifts, but Sarah really took it to heart. She makes gifts rather than buying them whenever she can, whether it’s something truly unique and personal for a friend or simply homemade cookies (she is a fantastic baker!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Today I read your review of this book that I had not been aware of. Then the mail came and with it a gift catalogue. There in the catalogue was this pout fish book along with a plush toy. Someone is doing a good job of marketing! Thanks for your post, Kirsti.

    Liked by 1 person

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