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Ugly Fish Hardcover – June 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152050825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152050825
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–Ugly Fish is big, mean, and not keen on sharing his space with others. Whenever new tank-mates arrive, he chases them around and then eats them. Once they're gone, he wishes that he had someone to play with and regrets his actions. However, wishes can be dangerous things, and soon Shiny Fish arrives on the scene. He is much larger than Ugly Fish and looks vaguely sharklike. Ugly Fish, lonely no more, proudly shows his new friend around the tank. Impressed, Shiny Fish decides he wants it all to himself, and, after a short chase, polishes off Ugly Fish with a burp. Edgy pen-and-ink, digitally colored cartoon illustrations perfectly complement the short text's dry and wicked humor. The comically exaggerated details within the sharp pictures prevent the plot from becoming too heavy. While not for the faint of heart, this book will appeal to many kids; they'll thoroughly enjoy its humor and shock value.–Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
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Review

With his murky green skin and fierce underbite, Ugly Fish rules the aquarium. "He liked gliding in... and out... of his driftwood tunnel. He liked eating his special briny flakes." But he hates to share. Each time a potential friend is introduced, he snarls, "There's only room for one fish in this tank-me!" He devours all interlopers, including cute yellow Teensy Fish and the cuddly duo of Stripey and Spotty Fish. In post-meal images, readers witness Ugly's pleased expression and see the victim's fin dangling from his toothy jaw; when he's lonely, he does express mild remorse ("Chasing those fish was fun. If only I hadn't eaten them"). Shortly thereafter, dark-blue Shiny Fish-so enormous he doesn't fit on the page, and with sinister dark circles under his narrow eyes-joins Ugly in the tank. Ugly acts as though he has learned his lesson, and tries to welcome the hulking newcomer. But predator becomes prey, and Shiny gets "a nice new home... [burp] all to himself." Magoon pictures the action in close-up, except for a wordless closing image of solitary Shiny, content in the rectangular tank. In this conclusion, Magoon implies the tiny territory for which the fish compete, and not least, the human hand in the fishy murders. LaReau's text, meanwhile, describes a bully's grim comeuppance. But however satisfying the vigilante justice, only a bigger bully trumps a petty tyrant. This cautionary tale shows that violence begets violence, but never suggests an alternative to the big-fish-eat-little-fish cycle. Ages 3-7. (Publishers Weekly )

Grade 1-4–Ugly Fish is big, mean, and not keen on sharing his space with others. Whenever new tank-mates arrive, he chases them around and then eats them. Once they're gone, he wishes that he had someone to play with and regrets his actions. However, wishes can be dangerous things, and soon Shiny Fish arrives on the scene. He is much larger than Ugly Fish and looks vaguely sharklike. Ugly Fish, lonely no more, proudly shows his new friend around the tank. Impressed, Shiny Fish decides he wants it all to himself, and, after a short chase, polishes off Ugly Fish with a burp. Edgy pen-and-ink, digitally colored cartoon illustrations perfectly complement the short text's dry and wicked humor. The comically exaggerated details within the sharp pictures prevent the plot from becoming too heavy. While not for the faint of heart, this book will appeal to many kids; they'll thoroughly enjoy its humor and shock value.–Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
(School Library Journal ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
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What a great book about bullying!
B. Richard
This book has become one of our family's favorite books!
T. Fortenberry
We all love the illustrations and the fun story.
Nichola Groom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on August 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite picture book of 2006. I have used it with a mixed age group (1st-6th grades) in a summer writing institute and with the graduate students in my children's literature class. It is unusual and unique both in its illustrations and its story of Ugly Fish who eats up the other fish who are put into his fish tank. Don't miss this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Reece on April 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As an educator, I was not completely confident that this would go over well in a classroom. I thought that the illustrations could end up in a room full of frightened preschoolers. However, after taking the chance, I have found that this is a hit for kids of ALL ages. I find that when I give voices to the different fish, the kids can't keep their eyes off the book. It is so popular in the classroom that I've had to invest in multiple copies.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Easton on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Great story, great illustrations. Possibly the best book I have bought for my son so far.
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Format: Hardcover
4 STARS!! Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon is a surprising read. I'll start there because Ugly Fish is mean and ugly and happy with his solitary existence. Drop in Teensy Fish. If you think this is a heartwarming tale of two opposites coming together you're only right if you mean Ugly Fish chases Teeensy Fish and eats him in one bite. We meet a few more fish for a second before grumpy Ugly Fish chomps them too. This is a total fish snuff book and I laughed the whole time I read it. My son did too. Ugly Fish gets his when bigger and meaner Shiny Fish drops in and finds his new digs a little crowded. This is a kid-specific book. I'm sure there's a lesson here, Karma and all that, but the first couple reads are still a little startling to convey the bigger picture to my son.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a story of "you get what you deserve" and it does not have a happy ending. You can find humor in it, though, especially if your child is 5+.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up Ugly Fish at my local library last week based purely on the cover. Ugly Fish stared at my defiantly as if daring me to read him. Not one to be cowed by a mere illustration, I took the book home with me.

Ugly Fish lives in a very nice fish tank all by himself. He has a driftwood tunnel and is fed special fish flakes. Life is great until, one day, a new fish arrives. The new fish wants to be friends with Ugly Fish but Ugly Fish doesn't want to share his tank with anyone. So what does Ugly Fish do? He eats the new fish! This happens several more times, with new fish arriving and promptly being eaten. Now Ugly Fish is truly alone in his fish tank. After awhile though, Ugly Fish begins to feel quite lonely and wishes for a friend. He gets his wish when a new, bigger fish comes to live in the tank. Unfortunately for Ugly Fish, Shiny Fish doesn't like to share and Ugly Fish soon ends up in his belly.

This is a really great story with a subtle lesson. The message here is to treat others how you want to be treated and also that it's not cool to be a bully. Ugly Fish finds himself friendless and alone after his bad behavior. When he finally realizes the error of his ways, it's too late, and he has to suffer the consequences. I picked this book up because of the illustrations and they did not disappoint. Animated and colorful, they really brought the story to life.

I think children will like it because the story is funny and the ending is unexpected. I'd definitely recommend this for children and adults who have a darker sense of humor. A very fun, clever read!
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Format: Hardcover
UGLY FISH....... It is a great book for any elementary student who tends to BE a bully! Kids who have been bullied really relate to the new fishes in the tank!
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By M. Thompson on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the funniest children's books ever! I can't stop laughing half the time to finish reading to the kids. Finally something w/o all the schmaltz!
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