Friday, May 6, 2022

Freaky, Funky Fish!

Last spring was a tough time for new book releases, what with libraries, schools, and book stores unable to host public events. So this spring I’ve been sharing some STEAM books that I feel are worth another look. 

Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts about Fascinating Fish 
by Debra Kempf Shumaker; illus by Claire Powell
32 pages; ages 4-8
‎Running Press Kids, 2021

theme: fish, animal adaptations, rhyme

Fish have fins and gills and tails.

To be a fish, you have to have certain characteristics: scales, gills, maybe fins. But not all fish are alike. Debra shows, in rhyming text, the different ways fish are adapted to survive in their world. Some fish zap, some sing, some produce copious amounts of slime – and one even has a see-through head!

What I like about this book: Let’s just start with the cover and all those unusual fish. Then there’s the end pages – a wonderful place to explore a map of the oceans (where the fish are) and a “fish inventory” that categorizes fish into groups and gives each a funkiness rating on a scale of 1-5.

These illustrations are so fun! Claire captures the essence of fishiness while imbuing them with character and personality.

And there is back matter! That’s where you will find out more about fish and how they use those funky adaptations. For example, just how do fish sing if they have no vocal cords? Not to worry; Debra shares their secrets. There are resources galore, including links where you can watch – and hear – some of these freaky, funky fish in action.

Beyond the Books:

Learn more about fish. Here’s a great collection of fish photos.

Create your own funky fish. Ideas for fishy crafts here, and a bunch more here.

You can listen to the fish sing! Check out the recording that’s in this article. And then hop over to this video to find out more about how fish talk to each other.

If you haven't already, check out Debra's post  from Monday about what inspired this very fishy book. And keep your eyes peeled for her newest book, Peculiar Primates that should hit bookstores in October. Debra is a member of #STEAMTeam2022. You can find out more about her at her website.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. This was a fun book and I am glad you are making people focus on it again! I like you funky fish crafts.

  2. I remember when you mentioned this one before. I forgot to check it out, but I will now. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. This book is fantastic! I own a copy, and it's shelved right next to 13 Ways to Eat a Fly. They're both faves.

    1. aw, thanks Jilanne. Just remember: Funky Fish eat Flies!