One fish two fish red fish blue fish

fishPublished in 1960 by Random House


The book opens with the same words that make up the title, “One fish   two fish   red fish   blue fish.” No commas or periods and only the One is capitalized. Then it progresses to “Black fish   blue fish   old fish   new fish.” Then things start to get a little more complicated.

“This one has a little star.

This one has a little car.
Say! what a lot
of fish there are.”

Now that we’ve reached full sentences the story starts to develop from different kinds of fish to the general thought that

“From there to here,
from here to there,
funny thing
are everywhere.”

A young girl and her brother (not Sally and her brother from Cat in the Hat, but a new pair of youngsters,) take us through the story and introduce us to all sorts of interesting creatures, explaining that they are all different.

Dr Seuss Clark One Fish Two Fish

The children do not necessarily narrate the story, sometimes the unique creatures we meet are talking to other creatures within the story, completely unaware of an audience.

The story ends with a pet Zeep that the little boy and girl nestle down with to fall asleep and the final quote is,

“Today is gone. Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.
Every day,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.”


This story encourages young readers to be observant as well as imaginative. The quote that sums up the theme of the book is at the beginning, in the middle, and also ends the book,

“From here to there,
funny things are everywhere.”

As we start the book we are asked to notice opposites; old and new, bad and glad, thin and fat, fast and slow, high and low, etc. Seuss probably did this because comparison is the easiest way to notice differences and uniqueness. This pulls the child in and starts to make them notice the differences in the images that match the words, creating stronger vocabulary.


The second way that Seuss strengthens vocabulary is through rhyme. This book focuses a lot on rhyme, more so than any of his other books so far.

Did you ever ride a Wump?
We have a Wump
with just one hump.
But we know a man
called Mr. Gump.
Mr. Gump has a seven hump Wump
if you like to go Bump! Bump!
just jump on the hump of a Wump of Gump.”

Seuss also incorporates repetition and recognition through using images to exactly match the words.


All of these are tools to pull young readers into the story and get them not only excited about reading, but to create strong vocabularies as well as creative thinking and observation.


Like all the other Beginner Books so far, there is no dedication. There is, however, a small Seuss character on the inside bottom left corner that says

“From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things
are everyone.”

He is very Lorax-looking with a large mustache and drowsy eyes. He also has a star on his belly similar to the Sneetches. Both books have yet to be published at this point.

The only colors in the book are yellow, red, and turquoise, printed at different thicknesses to create soft yellows and pinks. Seuss brought little stubs or crayons to his publishers to show them the exact colors he wanted.

As I have stated in previous posts, Beginner Books could only include vocabulary from a list of 250 words that a 7 year old could easily understand, but this limitation did not extend to the illustrations. Seuss was adamant that if the word was in the book the illustration had to include it, but illustrations could also include things that were not written. For example in The Cat in the Hat there is an umbrella, but the word umbrella was not on the list. Seuss believed this engaged young readers because they would point to all the objects and name them even when they cannot yet read the word.




I definitely was not much of a girly girl growing up. I had Barbies, but I didn’t really get into playing with hair or makeup until later and I never really liked pink or frilly things, but this image is just so fun. Seuss’s books are often focused on very traditionally “boy activities” and his main human characters are always boys (other than The Seven Lady Godivas, which is not a children’s book.) So it is nice to see a book where a young girl gets to share the lime light and do some “girly activities.” I think it is important to point out that the quote that goes with it is

“All girls who like
to brush and comb
should have a pet
like this at home.”

He does not say “all girls” and leave it at that, but instead he says “all girls who like to brush and comb.” I’m sure it was done more for the sake of the rhyme than as any sort of feminist message, but it does add a touch of equality. It doesn’t simply assume all girls would like a pet like this, but that there are girl’s who would enjoy a frilly pet and that’s okay.


Pink Yink

This page always made me giggle and still does. There are just so many rhyming words thrown onto one page. Think, Yink, wink, drink, pink all thrown together. Very fun and helps children to really grasp the sound of words ending in “ink”.

Thanks for reading,
Jack St.Rebor


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