Swimmy (Leo Lionni)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Swimmy by Leo Lionni, the timeless story of a little fish, a big ocean, and what we can accomplish when we work together.

Swimmy is part of a big school of very small red fish. Swimmy is just a bit different though: his scales are black, and everyone says he is the fastest swimmer in the school. One day, a giant tuna comes up and begins eating the other fish, and everyone begins to scatter. Swimmy swims as fast as he can, but once he stops fleeing, he is surprised to find the ocean filled with marvels that he missed by never leaving his school. Upon finding another flock of fish like him, he tries to convince them to come and see the wonders of the sea, but they are too scared of the big fish and want to stay hidden. So Swimmy comes up with a brilliant plan for everyone to safely swim in the ocean. It will take teamwork, practice, and trust, but Swimmy knows that when everyone works together, they can accomplish great things.

I loved this simple, straightforward parable about cooperation. The story is brisk and has a great, matter-of-fact tone; it keeps the action flowing smoothly without lingering, but still gets the point across. I loved the emphasis on both hard work AND working together; it’s not enough just to organize, everyone still has to put their time in. And I loved the lesson about not living in fear, especially if you can find people to support and help you overcome those obstacles. The sponge-painting-style art is lovely and unique, and the length is perfect. JJ and I really enjoyed this classic, and it’s definitely worth the read. Baby Bookworm approved!

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