by Leo Lionni

Paperback, 1973



Call number




Dragonfly Books (1973), Edition: Reissue, 32 pages


A little black fish in a school of red fish figures out a way of protecting them all from their natural enemies.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ht_storytime
Cute story in which Swimmy teaches a school of fish to swim in the shape of a big fish so they can chase their predators away. Kids love the pictures!
LibraryThing member eward06
This represents a Realistic Fiction book because the story is true to life in that it happens in a setting that is real to the reader. It also represents a Modern Fantasy because it expresses ideas about make-believe things like the idea that fish don't really talk. This makes it known that the
Show More
story would not be completely possible in real life.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Lthatfield
Swimmy is a cute book about a little black fish who belongs to a red school of fish. When all the red fish get eaten, Swimmy swims and discovers new things in the ocean. He swims up to another group of red fish and decides to join them. He teaches them how to swim together to look like one big fish
Show More
so they dont get eaten by any other big fish. When they run upon the big fish, they end up scaring them off becuase they look bigger than them. This is a great book to show what you can accomplish when you work together.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lleighton05
Genre: This story could occur in an ocean that exists on earth. However, the fish talk, which makes the story unrealistic and not able to happen.
Setting: The setting of this story takes place in an ocean. It is important because the fish would not survive if it was in another place.
Show More
Similarly, the ocean environment affects the fish and how they try to survive in the ocean.
Media: collage
Show Less
LibraryThing member saralogue
Swimmy is the sole survivor of a horrible oceanic attach on his school of fish. He goes through the oceans discovering new things, he meets a school of fish very similar to his own and wants to go and swim in the open ocean with them but they are being stalked by a predator. Swimmy helps them to
Show More
outsmart their predator by working as a team and swimming together. It is a charming story about perseverance.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jhill06
Genre: Fantasy
Critique: This is a good example of fantasy because of how it's main character, Swimmy, is a fish who speaks. The story goes beyond the boundaries that the reader knows and into a world full of impossibilities such as a hundred little fish making one big fish.
LibraryThing member cjoymr
When the rest of Swimmy's school gets eaten, he goes on an adventure by himself, and helps another school of fish to adventure as well.

A nice book about learning from experience and helping others.
LibraryThing member cltnae
I thought this was a very cute and simple book. It shows that you can accomplish more if you work together to fix a problem. Swimmy was faced with the loss of his family, and still is able to make his experience better. I thought that this book would be good for younger ages. The simpleness of this
Show More
book makes it suitable for younger readers. I thought that the illustrations could have been a little more colorful so that it would have more apeal for students.

Summary: Swimmy by Leo Lionni (1968) A little fish is swimming with his brothers and sisters having fun and playing games. A tuna came and spoiled their fun, he ate all of Swimmys' brothers and sister. So Swimmy went on by himself and explored the sea. He saw many other sea creatures and plants. Finally he ran into a school of fish that were just like his own. Swimmy taught them how to swim together and formed a big fish. They played all day and scared the big fish away.

Classroom Extensions:1) The students would re-create the story by getting into groups and making the main characters in the story and act it out for the class.2) I would have cut outs of certain scenes and have the students tell me what is happening in each one. This game is to help their memory process.
Show Less
LibraryThing member meallen1
This was a really cute book about a little black fish named swimmy who had all red brothers and sisters but one day a big fish came and ate all of the red fish so swimmy was all alone. Then he found some more red fish that looked just like his brothers and sisters and they were scared of a big fish
Show More
that might eat them so swimmy had an idea where all of the red fish would get together and Swimmy was the eye. I think this book would be good to read to the classroom because the kids could draw pictures of the fish.
Show Less
LibraryThing member katitefft
Swimmy is a good example of modern fantasy because it tells the story of one fish who is different from the rest, and his journey to discover his purpose amongst all other ocean animals. Swimmy loses his red fish friends to a much larger fish. However, he later figures out a way to help save
Show More
similar groups of red fish from the same fate. As previously mentioned, this story is set on the bottom of the ocean floor. The author's painted illustrations make this setting vibrant and colorful for the reader, inviting them to use their imagination in thinking about the real world under the sea.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bestwhensimple
Leo Lionni's wonderful book about a smart little fish named "Swimmy" is a classic. Swimmy manages to save his new friends from the big fish of the sea by thinking creatively. It teaches kids about the power of imagination and the strength of community.

The illustrations from Lionni are phenomenal.
Show More
Watercolors swirl together to form the ocean, doilies get transformed into seaweed, and little circles are made into coral. And Swimmy himself is iconic. He's just a plain, little, solid black fish who stands out in the almost transparent sea of tiny red fish. It's a great book to play "find that fish" with!

The story is wonderful, too. Lionni's vocabulary is diverse and challenging; words like "marvel," "fierce," "sugar-candy," and "swaying" are a delight to see in a young child's book.

For these reasons, and many more, Lionni remains a favorite of children everywhere.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Rose_Hawblitzel
Genre: Fantasy

Critique: This book is an excellent example of fantasy because the author uses personification to give his characters human like qualities and makes it believable

Summary: A fish named Swimmy, who is different because he is black instead of red, belongs to a school of fish who get
Show More
eaten. He ventures out into the open sea and finds a new school of fish to swim with, however they are scared of also getting eaten. Swimmy comes up with the idea that they should learn to swim together to look like one giant fish, and he was the eye. They never have to worry about being eaten again.

Style: the author uses personification to give his characters human characteristics

Media: It doesn't say, although it looks like collage, paint, and stamping
Show Less
LibraryThing member ekean06
This is an excellent example of fantasy becasue the author personifies the fish and other creatures with voices and human like thoughts, actions, and motivations. Swimmy is the main character and protagonist. Swimmy is a round protagonist becasue he is the most active character and grows as a
Show More
leader and individual through the story.
Show Less
LibraryThing member wendyfincher
Swimmy was a small black fish who belong to a school of red fish. When a big tuna fish came alone and ate all of swimmy's family, he became sad and lonely. One day Swimmy found a new school of red fish who were to scared to come out of hiding. Swimmy taught them to swim close together to look like
Show More
a big fish. Swimmy helped his friends to have courage. This is a great book that covers so many topics. It talks about marine life, friendship, courage, and leadership. This is a fun book to read and discuss with young children.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mjhartley
Swimmy is a book that follows a little fish on his journey through the ocean. His brothers and sisters are eaten by a tuna and he has to go out by himself. He sees many different things along the way and then meets another school of fish just like his brothers and sisters. He teaches them how not
Show More
to be afraid so they can all swim together and see the great ocean too.
Show Less
LibraryThing member creeh
Swimmy is a little black fish among many red brothers and sisters. One day, a giant tuna fish comes and gobbles all his red siblings up, leaving him alone. So, he decides to explore the ocean around him, and find new friends. He comes across jelly fish, and coral, and eventually another school of
Show More
red fish hiding form the tunas. He hatches a plan to swim together as one big fish, and he'll be the eye. So, all the fish scared away the tuna they once afraid of because they worked together.

this book was pretty simple. the moral was clear, but there really wasnt much plot to it. i liked the use of stamps the illustrator used to do the pictures, but they were not very colorful. overall, i think this book was alright, but not great.

the book could be used to show students that teamwork pays off, and could be put into practice palying tug of war or maybe a group picture that they would add their personality traits up, and describe how they could use them to help one another.
Show Less
LibraryThing member coko_1982
Swimmy is a little black fish in a school of red fish. After a tuna eats his entire family, he is the only survior. He then wanders the sea finding new and amazing things that he has never seen before. He then comes across another school of red fish hiding in the darkness of the sea. He comes up
Show More
with the plan to work together and swim as one, side by side to form a big fish. With Swimmy as the eye the swim the sea seeing amazing new things, and scaring the big fish away.

The children really loved this story. The pictures are amazing, and very colorful. While reading this story, the children sympathized with him for losing his friends, and expressed how happy they were when he found a new school of fish.

For a class activity, I would have the children go "fishing" for letters. Using all red fish, and one black fish in our "sea". Although there are endless activities you could do with these fish, I would use them the spelling of the children's names. The first child to catch all of the letters in their name would win.
Show Less
LibraryThing member smmote
This book is about a fish named Swimmy who can swim faster than any of his brothers and sisters and lived with a large school of happy red fish. Swimmy was the only fish that was black. One day, a big, fierce, hungry tuna fish came and swallowed the whole school of red fish in one gulp. Swimmy
Show More
managed to get away, so he swam away quickly into the deep sea and became scared and lonely. Swimmy saw many different things on his adventure through the sea by himself until he was so happy to run into another school of fish, just his size, except they were red. Swimmy joins in and comes up with a plan for them to all group together and swim around in a certain postition to look like a big fish in the sea so that no other fish would bother them. Swimmy played the role of the eye of the fish, because he was the only black one, and they swam together through the water and chased the big fish away.
Show Less
LibraryThing member temorrison
Swimmy is a black fish who's brothers and sisters are all red. One day a big tuna came and ate all the red fish; Swimmy was the only one who survived. So he set out on his own in search of another family. He saw many things; like a medusa, a lobster, other fish, a forest of seaweed, and even an
Show More
eel. But soon he found fish just like him. He said that they should all swim close together so the bigger fish does not eat them. So they learn to swim like a big fish and Swimming was the eye.
Show Less
LibraryThing member slblack2
Swimmy is the only fish from his school to survive being eaten by the big fish. Swimmy is scared and sad but continues to be adventurous. He finds a school of fish just like the one that was eaten by the big fish. He tells them to swim and look like a big fish and he would be the eye. They went
Show More
around and chase all of the big fish.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JRFyock
Swimmy is a little black fish who is the only one left after the other little red fish are eaten by a big tuna fish. When he finds other little red fish, he has an idea for them to all swim together to look like a big fish.
This book is a good example for teamwork and sharing differences.
LibraryThing member LanitaBostic
Swimmy was a small fish who lived in the ocean with his brothers and sisters. They were all red and he was black. They swam together everyday. One day a large hungry tuna came. He ate all of Swimmy's brothers and sisters, but not Swimmy. Swimmy was alone and sad. He started to swim and found that
Show More
the ocean was not so lonely after all. He saw lobsters, jellyfish, and sea anemone. There was something that Swimmy saw that was much more interesting than all he had seenin the ocean. He saw fish that looked just like his brothers and sisters. He asked them to swim with him but they were afraid they would get eaten. Swimmy designed a plan. He and all of the other red fish swam together. The school of fish looked just like a large fish. Swimmy was the eye. The school was so big they were able to chase off the other big fish. They had lots of fun together.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lpeal
This is about a little fish named Swimmy. Swimmy's whole family gets eating by a great big fish. So he travels around the ocean looking for friends and food. It discusses all that he encoutners and what he did. He finally meets another school of fish. He teaches them to swim clsoe together so that
Show More
the other fish will think they are all one big fish. THis worls well and they lived hapily ever after. A cute book that kids will love. I did not however care for the illustrations.
Show Less
LibraryThing member aubreycroat
There was a school of little red fish, but one fish was different from all the others, Swimmy was black. One day a hungry tuna fish can and ate the entire school, except for Swimmy. Swimmy was sad and lonely, so he began to explore the sea. He saw big beautiful fish, lobsters, jellies, coral, and
Show More
many more new things. Swimmy created a plan, that his school would swim in the shape of a big red fish, and Swimmy would be the eye. Together the school chased away all the hungry fish.

This book was very cute. It teaches a valuable lesson on the importance of differences, Swimmy was needed for the eye of the big fish. This book would be good for a beginning reader, but could also be used as a read aloud.

1) Discuss with students the values of having differences. Point out differences in all the children that make them so special.
2) Create some of our own sea creatures out of paper, opener for a lesson on aquatic animals.
Show Less
LibraryThing member kagetzfred
This is a great story of persistent and individuality. This can be incoporated into the classroom to show how important it is to be yourself and stand up for others when no one else will help out. It also can be used to teach the lesson of getting along well with everyone and showing respect to all
Show More
people and creatures. The main character in this story uses smart tactics to save himself and a large school of fish that he joins up with in order to continue enjoying the ocean. The watercolor illustrations are soft and colorful and can keep young children entertained and enthralled with the accompanying words.
Show Less



Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9 inches



Other editions

Swimmy by Leo Lionni (Paperback)
Page: 0.4896 seconds