The Pout-Pout Fish and the Worry-Worry Whale (Deborah Diesen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Pout-Pout Fish and the Worry-Worry Whale, written by Deborah Diesen and featuring illustrations by Isidre Monés (based on the work of Dan Hanna), the latest in the series of marine animal-themed stories on emotional management.

Mr. Fish (only referred to by his better-known moniker in the title) is on his way to a party when he bumps into his friend, Willa Whale. Willa has been invited to the same party, but is filled with anxiety over attending. Will the music be too loud? Will the crowd be too dense? What if she feels out of place or doesn’t know how to make conversation? Mr. Fish encourages her to take a deep breath and focus on one actionable decision at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. Willa decides that she will attend the party; if she feels her worries coming true, she has the freedom to leave. Once they arrive, both friends have a wonderful time – until the singing starts. Willa is TERRIFIED of singing in public! What will she do?

A simple yet effective story on feelings management. The Pout-Pout Fish series excels at basic emotional themes explained in child-friendly ways, and this most recent title approaches the idea of worrying in general (and social anxiety, specifically) with manageable strategies and an encouraging tone. Especially appreciated is that Willa is never told NOT to worry or be anxious; those who experience anxiety will appreciate that just “stopping” one’s worries is an impossible ask. Diesen’s rhyming text is well-metered and easy to read aloud, and while Monés’s artwork lacks some depth, it is colorful and engaging, especially in showing a fishy birthday party in full swing. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed it. Overall, this is a likable addition to a much-beloved series, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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