Customer Reviews: Fish is Fish
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars48
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on May 3, 2005
An email friend used the term "self consensus" to describe the process by which we start with a known person- ourselves- and move in small steps away from that to construct our image of another person we know via email. This book is a good illustration of that idea.

The story is about a minnow and a tadpole. They look alike, so they must be alike, right? The frog wakes up to having grown legs and the fish is astounded- this cannot be! They are both fish! Time goes on and the fish grows into a larger fish and the tadpole into a frog. Finally the frog is able to leave the pond, but eventually he returns to tell his old friend about the world. The fish pictures the birds as colorful fish with wings, the cow as a hilarious furry fish with horns and udders and the people as fish in clothing with hair. Of course the fish wants to see these amazing things so he jumps out, only to discover that he really needs to be in his cool, watery element to survive.

The illustrations are fairly simple colored pencil drawings- at least until we get to the creatures outside the pond. My children found the "birds" interesting, but the cow and the humans had them in stitches. They found those critters to be some of the funniest things they can imagine- and my 8 yo was able to understand and articulate that we base our assumptions on what we already know and understand. A pretty good lesson for kids to learn, IMO, as well as a sweet story of friendship between two very different creatures.
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on August 6, 2003
FISH IS FISH is a delightful book. It's fun for children, and a pleasure for adults to read out loud. The illustrations are beautiful. Two young "fish" are friends. One fish stays a fish; the other turns out to be a tadpole. The real fish refuses to believe that his friend is changing. How like real life! After tadpole goes up on land, he actually has more to add to their friendship - great stories about what he has seen on earth! When fish jumps onto land to explore, he almost dies. Tadpole saves him. In the end, both fish and tadpole are happy with their own unique worlds. Fish tells tadpole: "You were right ... Fish is fish." This story is so simply and wonderfully symbolic of how friends can remain friends, even when they change as they grow up.
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on September 10, 2004
Fish Is Fish (Lionni, 1970) describes a fish who is keenly interested in learning about what happens on land, but the fish cannot explore land because it can only breathe in water. It befriends a tadpole who grows into a frog and eventually goes out onto the land. The frog returns to the pond a few weeks later and reports on what he has seen. The frog describes all kinds of things like birds, cows, and people. The book shows pictures of the fish's representations of each of these descriptions: each is a fish-like form that is slightly adapted to accommodate the frog's descriptions--people are imagined to be fish who walk on their tailfins, birds are fish with wings, cows are fish with udders. This tale illustrates both the creative opportunities and dangers inherent in the fact that people construct new knowledge based on their current knowledge.
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on March 25, 2000
The book's message--sometimes what is best for you is right before your eyes. This book teaches basic information about frogs and fish. It has beautiful colors which captivate the children's imagination and interest. Thoughtfully and creatively written, one of my favorite Leo Lionni books. This is a book which captivates the interest of chldren of all ages. My pre-school age children love this book, as does the elementary age children in my classroom.
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on September 4, 2000
This fanciful and colorful book is about a fish and tadpole who become friends while living in the same pond. Tadpole soon grows legs and leaves the pond. Fish is lonely without him and tries to follow. Disaster! The gently presented lessons in this book stir me still. The words are simple, but the meaning, real and multi-faceted, is accessible to all ages.
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on March 20, 2007
Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni is a great book for little kids with great imaginations. In this book a tadpole and a fish are friends. There are many things to learn from this book. I believe that this book should be read by little kids.

The pictures in this book are creative. The pictures are made from imagination. But, it might be better if he used the right colors. The book would really stand out to little kids. Little kids and beginners would love this book for its pictures. It has easy words for beginners to practice reading with.

Their friendship will make you happy even if you're really angry since nothing is better than friendship. For instance, frog left for a long time and eventually returned and fish was not mad. When he came back, he told amazing stories. The story wouldn't be complete without their friendship.

After a day with joy and frustration fish learns, "Frogs are frogs," and "Fish are fish." Fish risked his life to see what frog had described to him. Frog proved to be a hero and a friend. Fish learned a valuable lesson. Frog and fish remained friends.

Fish is Fish is something I definitely recommend. Young kids who are mad at a friend should totally read it. With all the happy events it makes it to a book that's great for friends. I liked how the author put the events in the way he did. Beginning readers should really read this book.
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on January 27, 2014
I ordered this from a 3 year old child's gift list kept current by his mother. I so appreciate having a list that I can shop from. Buying a gift that is age and interest appropriate is important to me and children change so fast.
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Fish is Fish tells the story of two young friends - one is a fish, and the other is a tadpole. When young, they had so very much in common. However, when the tadpole grew up to be a frog, he returned to fish and told him so many interesting stories of the new world he lived in. Fish hungered to see this other world, but found that it was just not for him. He was not a frog, but a fish, and fish is fish.

This book is different than many children's books that I have seen. The author, Leo Lionni had a background that was rich beyond imagination. His father was a Sephardic Jew and his mother an opera singer, and his wife was the daughter of a leading Italian Communist. So, I don't think that this book is about not bettering yourself, or staying where you were born. Instead, I think that this book is finding where you feel you best fit, and being happy there, whether you are the frog OR the fish.

This is a very nice book, and it is easy to see why it has won all the awards that it has. I liked the illustration work, which is quite humorous and really grabs the young reader's eye. My young reader and both enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Check it out and see what everyone is talking about!
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on December 15, 2012
Leo Lionni books are classics and I am sad that I only recently found them. All of his books inspire the imagination of children and get them thinking about moral, or difficult issues (sometimes without them even knowing it).
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on December 3, 2015
Fish and Tadpole are best friends, but when Tadpole becomes a frog and goes to shore, Fish is left alone. Ever the faithful friend, the frog happily returns to regale Fish with stories all about life on land. The intrigued Fish is determined to go to shore, too. Unfortunately, it turns out fish simply aren't meant to be out of water. This reprint of the 1970 tale is formatted for young readers.

This is a lovely story of friendship and making the best of a situation. I particularly enjoyed the part where the frog described people, birds, and cows -- all of which fish pictured as being, well, fish-like. What a fantastic way to show how our personal perspective strongly affects how we see life.
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