The cover of Freaky, Funky Fish immediately sets the tone for this engaging and fact-filled book about how fish are the same, yet quite different. The first page (where the colors and shapes serve as eye candy) starts out with straightforward similarities, leaving the humor to the illustration.
Fish have fins
All fish swim
and most have scales.
LOOK at all those fish! How can they look so different and still be fish?
A page turn sends us hurtling into the world of their differences, where fish are grouped by the strange things they do as they “zap,” “sting,” “sing,” etc…..Some of their actions, of course, will elicit “ewws” or “wows!”
I love how the author, Debra Shumaker, gives different species subjective “freaky” of “funky” rating levels, along with the factual information about where they live and what they do.
It’s fish taxonomy for kids!
The front endpapers provide the first page of the taxonomy spreadsheet and a map of the world. The map includes additional factoids about the earth and its oceans, including a quip about the Bermuda Triangle “(things disappear here). There are also five additional pages of back matter, including more details about each funky/freaky category and resources for further learning.
This book will make for a great classroom read aloud (I read it to my family at dinner, LOL.) as well as an opportunity for those so inclined to study the details of each species and use it as a springboard for a deeper dive into this strange and wonderful underwater world.
Kudos to the illustrator, Claire Powell, for giving these fish so much personality. It’s tough to give fish charisma, and these illustrations do just that.
Watch this YouTube video, All About Fish, to learn more details about how fish are classified. My apologies for the narrator’s annoying voice, but the information interesting.
Pair this book with any one of Jess Keating’s The World of Weird Animals series, including Pink is for Blobfish.
Make a moving, wide-mouth origami fish.
Title: Freak, Funky Fish: Odd Facts about Fascinating Fish
Author: Debra Kempf Shumaker
Illustrator: Claire Powell
Publisher: Running Press Kids, 2021
Ages: Elementary school
Themes: Fish, STEM, classification
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.