by Leo Lionni

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963

30 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: fish, ocean, sea creatures

Also by this author: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse

Swimmy is the only black fish in a large school of small red fish. One day a big tuna fish eats all the red fish but Swimmy escapes. He swims through the ocean, seeing many wondrous sights. He finds another school of red fish, and he calls to them to join him and see the sights, but they are afraid of predators. Swimmy teaches them to swim in the shape of a big fish, and they are able to scare away the bigger fish and swim wherever they like.

One grim moment when Swimmy’s clan disappears into the maw of a giant tuna, but otherwise a lovely story about working together to achieve great things. And it has a basis in truth as well… while they don’t actually swim in the shape of a big fish, large schools of fish darting back and forth en masse can fool some predators, or at least confuse them into keeping their distance.

Swimmy’s observations about the amazing things he sees are quite poetic, and the stamp-print illustrations are beautiful.

An aesthetic delight with a useful moral.

(This title on amazon.)


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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