Ugly Fish - Review

Ugly Fish 
by Kara LaReau (author) and Scott Magoon (illustrations)
Publication date: 01 June 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN 10/13: 0152050825 | 9780152050825
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Category: Children's Picture Book
Keywords: Picture book, dark humor, bullying
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library


Ugly Fish is ugly and big and mean, and he won't share his driftwood tunnel or his special briny flakes with anyone. And that means the wimpy little fish who keep showing up in his tank have got to go. But then one day someone bigger and uglier and maybe even meaner arrives . . . and suddenly Ugly Fish isn't feeling quite so confident anymore.

From Kara LaReau, author of the Rocko and Spanky series, here is an irreverent and terrifically funny book about a bully who at last gets his comeuppance.


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 fishwants 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!

Visit the author online at and follow her on Twitter @karalareau

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