Written by Deborah Diesen
Illustrated by Dan Hanna
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2014. unpaged picture book
Pout Pout fish is going to his first day of school. He is excited at first, but then he starts looking into classroom windows. All the other students seem to know so much more than Pout Pout fish. Overwhelmed, Pout Pout fish starts in with negative self talk: "I'm not smart. I'll never get it. I don't belong. I should forget it." Just as he is about to run away from school a kind teacher finds him and gently leads him to his own class. He is relieved to learn that that other students in his class are beginners as well. Together, with the help of their teacher, they start to gain skills and confidence.
This is a reassuring new "first day of school" book. The text is all in rhyme with a bouncy, upbeat meter. The cartoon illustrations are done in light, happy, colors, and the fish characters, especially Pout Pout fish, are fun and expressive. The book delivers a message of assurance that many new students need.