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55 Factual Picture Books About Fish

Updated Apr. 22, 2019

Like the plenty of fish in the sea, there are plenty of children's books about fish out there. We've narrowed it down to the best of the bunch so you can have a swimmingly time reading these with your little ones. From fact-filled reads to fantastic favorites, these fishy tales are sure to be a hit!

Top 10 Fish Books

Happy book
#1
Happy
Written and illustrated by Mies Van Hout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love that this book goes through all the different emotions, showing them through each illustrated fish on the page. :) It's a really simple, beautiful, and fun book, and I felt like this one had a lot more emotions than just "happy" and "sad." I actually found this one in a bookstore and paid full price for the last copy that had a dent on the cover because I wanted it in my home library. :)

Teaches about emotions with illustrations of fish portraying these feelings, including curiosity, sadness, and confusion.

DogFish book
#2
DogFish
Written by Gillian Shields and illustrated by Dan Taylor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story has a great overall message in it, to want what you already have instead of wanting something you can't have. :) The boy learns to make the best of things, and instead of just wanting a dog, he learns to teach his goldfish to catch a stick, takes him on walks, and everyone ends up happy. :)

Everyone has a dog. Except for one little boy. He has a goldfish. He needs a dog. Mom says, "Why do you need a dog when you have such a nice goldfish?" But goldfish can't catch sticks or go for walks or wag their tails.... Can they? Maybe they can...

Papa's Mechanical Fish book
#3
Papa's Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

This is a great story about exploring ideas; sometimes they work out and sometimes they need more work. The creative dad in this book just keeps working on his ideas, most of which don't really succeed. Although so many of his ideas have fallen short, he doesn't get discouraged, and no one in his family is ever critical; everyone just keeps thinking and nurturing curiosity. The painterly illustrations engage the reader in the action, both of the inventor and his family who have their own activities parallel to the father's pursuits. This story is on the long side, although the repetition and reiterations work to keep young readers engaged and there is plenty to look at on every page. It is a terrific book for STEM topics and encouraging curiosity, perseverance, thinking, and patience.

In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

Swimmy book
#4
Swimmy
Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The gorgeous, Caldecott Honor-winning tale of a very clever fish by beloved picture book creator Leo Lionni. Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Honor, this beloved tale of a brave little fish has been a favorite to generations of readers. To celebrate Swimmy's fiftieth anniversary, we are issuing a handsome special edition hardcover that includes a bonus poster.

A Fish Out of Water book
#5
A Fish Out of Water
Written by Helen Palmer and illustrated by P. D. Eastman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A fun-filled reading experience for the beginning reader about a little boy who overfeeds his fish

The Rainbow Fish book
#6
The Rainbow Fish
Written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The most beautiful fish in the entire ocean discovers the real value of personal beauty and friendship.

Not Norman book
#7
Not Norman
Written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As a boy attempts to convince someone else to take his disappointing pet, he learns to love Norman the goldfish himself.

Fish is Fish book
#8
Fish is Fish
Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From beloved Caldecott winning picture book creator Leo Lionni, this charming tale of sticking together and imagination shows how powerful friendship can be. Two best friends, a minnow and a tadpole, are practically inseparable until the tadpole grows legs and decides to explore the world beyond the pond. When the tadpole, now a frog, returns to tell his friend of the extraordinary things he’s seen, the minnow, now a fish, tries to follow in his footsteps, but quickly finds that land is not what he expected. Friendship truly saves the day in this imaginative tale of a fish out of water.

Swim! Swim! book
#9
Swim! Swim!
Written and illustrated by Lerch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lerch the fish is lonely, and after trying to befriend some unreceptive--and inanimate--objects, he finally succeeds in finding a friend.

Down, Down, Down book
#10
Down, Down, Down
Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Provides a top-to-bottom look at the ocean, from birds and waves to thermal vents and ooze.

Books About Animals & Fish

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#1
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.

Slide-N-Seek Ocean book
#2
Slide-N-Seek Ocean
Written and illustrated by David Miles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Explore a new and exciting way to learn about creatures that live in the ocean with this Slide-N-Reveal book. You'll see colorful images appear before your very eyes with the turn of a wheel. Learn fun facts about each creature and discover hidden images throughout each page. Kids will love this fun and interactive format and learn about beautiful creatures along the way.

Water Sings Blue book
#3
Water Sings Blue
Written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 10 Reasons to Love... a Whale - Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

  2. A Whale's World - A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests,they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises,slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web.The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.

  3. Blobfish Throws a Party - Introducing Blobfish Throws a Party, a wild and hilarious story from award-winning author Miranda Paul! Blobfish lives at the bottom of the ocean with no lights, no friends, and no delicious treats. The only two ways he can think to change this would be to 1) throw a party, or 2) save the world in true hero style. He decides to do the first one. However, when he announces, "Deep sea party! Bring a treat to share!", the mermaids hear "Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear!", and the shorebirds hear "Cheep-peep party! Sing a tweet with flair!", and so on. Soon the whole world is partying in strange ways based on what they think they heard, and Blobfish is still sad and alone at the bottom of the sea. Will Blobfish ever get his lights, friends, and delicious treats?

  4. Fish Are Not Afraid of Doctors - Maud the koala knows a visit to the doctor will help keep her healthy–so why is she so scared? Maud gets nervous waiting at the doctor’s office for a checkup, so she looks to the fish tank in the waiting room for comfort. Fish don’t have to go to the doctor–she wishes she could be a fish. So when Maud has to get a shot, she shuts her eyes and pretends exactly that: She becomes an aquatic version of herself and pretends to swim through the sea, blowing bubbles and meeting other marine life, until she hears the doctor telling her it’s all done!

Want to see even more books about fish and animals?

How about books about animals?

Books About Nature & Fish

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#1
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.

Slide-N-Seek Ocean book
#2
Slide-N-Seek Ocean
Written and illustrated by David Miles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Explore a new and exciting way to learn about creatures that live in the ocean with this Slide-N-Reveal book. You'll see colorful images appear before your very eyes with the turn of a wheel. Learn fun facts about each creature and discover hidden images throughout each page. Kids will love this fun and interactive format and learn about beautiful creatures along the way.

10 Reasons to Love... a Whale book
#3
10 Reasons to Love... a Whale
Written by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Hanako Clulow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark - Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he's fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he's scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

  2. A Whale's World - A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests,they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises,slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web.The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.

  3. The Coral Kingdom - From brightly coloured corals to shimmering shoals of fish, the diversity of life on a coral reef is celebrated in this visually stunning picture book with a strong ecological message about the need to protect this most precious of environments. Through gentle rhyme and intricately etched artwork, it explores the life cycle, diversity and colour of the coral reef ecosystem, as well as the threats the reef faces and what we can do to save it. With each page packed full of delightful sea creatures to discover and enjoy, this is a lyrical and engaging way to learn about the life cycle of a coral reef.

  4. Free the Lines - A little sailing boat casts out his line to catch a fish in a busy, healthy ocean. But when a big, smoking trawler casts its mighty net, will any of the fish escape? Does the little sailing boat make the right choice? What do you think? This striking and artistic wordless picture book explores an environmental theme through simple linework, patterns and strong contrasts. A great way to spark conversations between parents and children about conservation and environmental issues.

Want to see even more books about fish and nature?

How about books about nature?

Books About The Ocean & Fish

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#1
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.

Slide-N-Seek Ocean book
#2
Slide-N-Seek Ocean
Written and illustrated by David Miles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Explore a new and exciting way to learn about creatures that live in the ocean with this Slide-N-Reveal book. You'll see colorful images appear before your very eyes with the turn of a wheel. Learn fun facts about each creature and discover hidden images throughout each page. Kids will love this fun and interactive format and learn about beautiful creatures along the way.

Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House book
#3
Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House
Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna, Deborah Diesen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It's time for Halloween, and Mr. Fish is nervous about visiting a haunted house with his friends—but he just may be surprised that it's not all so scary! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish's fans and newcomers alike.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ocean - How do fish breathe? Why is the ocean salty? Why is a whale not a fish? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this brilliant interactive lift-the-flap fact book. Embark on an epic journey under the sea looking for fish and other ocean creatures beneath the waves, learn what shells are for, find out which sea creatures are the most dangerous, and take a closer look at a coral reef. This fascinating fact-filled book is the perfect introduction to life under the sea.

  2. The Sea Book - Featuring fascinating fishy facts accompanied by bright, bold, and beautiful illustrations, this book takes children on a journey through the sea and all its zones. The Sea Book explores a wealth of incredible marine animals and their habitats, from up on the ice, down to colorful coral reefs, underwater forests, and right down to the deepest darkest depths where the weird and wonderful lurk. Following on from The Bee Book, Charlotte Milner continues to highlight to children important ecological issues faced by our planet, this time with a focus on marine life and the damaging effects humans are having on our seas. Children will discover what they can do to help, and there are tips on how to live plastic-free. Children will even get to craft their own recycled shopping bag! This charming celebration of the sea shows children just how extraordinary our oceans are, and is a reminder that it is up to us to keep it that way.

  3. 10 Reasons to Love... a Whale - Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

  4. The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark - Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he's fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he's scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

Want to see even more books about fish and the ocean?

How about books about the ocean?

Table of Contents
  1. Top 10 Fish Books
  2. + animals (7)
  3. + nature (9)
  4. + the ocean (14)
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