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Toddler Book Review: Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish

Written By | May 10, 2014

SILVER SPRING, Md, August 31, 2013 – There is a new fish in Sea Monster’s class and he decides to be nice to the newcomer and show him around in the hopes of making him feel comfortable. But it does not take Sea Monster long to see that the new fish seems perfectly comfortable at his new school. In fact he is so comfortable all he does is brag and show-off.

First the new fish just talks about how much better his old school did things. Then he began talking about how great he was, but Sea Monster could see that he really was not that great. The new fish was bossy, did not want to share and hogged all the toys. He gave everyone in the class bad nicknames and started playing pranks. Finally, the new fish started his own club, called the Fresh Fish Club, but it was only open to certain fish.

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.


Sea Monster started thinking about how it felt to be left out and wondered what kind of group could include everybody. The next day Sea Monster started his own club called the Friend Fish Team in which members would do good things for other fish and everyone was invited. Soon all the fish decided that they rather be Friend Fish instead of Fresh Fish – even the bossy fish, who named himself president. Before bossy fish could take over and ruin everything, Sea Monster told him that the Friend Fish Team did not need a president. But in an effort to make the bossy fish feel included Sea Monster said he could be the group’s drummer.  From that point on every fish played and had more fun.

This is a good book for school-aged children who might run into a bossy fish in their own school. This is a good way for kids to understand that there are ways to include everyone. It can also help them see that being nice to all of their classmates helps resolve conflict.

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.


This is author Kate Messner’s third picture book. In addition to picture books, she has also written three chapter books and several young reader novels.  She won the 2010 E. B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers and the 2012 Golden Kite Award. She has also been nominated for numerous other awards.  Multiple of her books have been named New York Times Notable Children Books.

Illustator Andy Rash has provided the artwork for numerous children’s books.

Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish (ISBN:978-1-4521-1253-4)by Kate Messner and illustrated by Andy Rash was published by Chronicle Books on July 9, 2013. It is available as a hardcover or an ebook.

Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer, mother and reader. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Find her on Twitter @BrighidMoret, or follow @BigReadsLittleH for the latest children's book reviews.