“The Pout-Pout Fish” is een werkelijk verschrikkelijke boekenserie voor kinderen waarin les wordt gegeven over toestemming en geestelijke gezondheid

“The Pout-Pout Fish” is een werkelijk verschrikkelijke boekenserie voor kinderen waarin les wordt gegeven over toestemming en geestelijke gezondheid

augustus 28, 2020 0 Door admin

Translating…


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My first son was born in early June. As terrifying as it was to have a premature child during an outbreak of police violence in the middle of a pandemic, it was made worse by The Pout-Pout Fish. I don’t know which of my mom’s friends (presumably) bought us this book at the baby shower. Nor do I know who let this atrocity get published in the first place.

Yet, now it haunts me.

The premise is simple: Mr. Fish is one of those frowny-looking fishes. So he swims around, singing this imminently catchy rhyme:

I’m a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place

It is this refrain that will not leave my head. I think of it every time my child cries, or even just when I look at his default furrowed brow expression (he’s still figuring out how to smile).

And this infuriates me, because it reminds me of the rest of the book. Which follows Mr. Fish as the other fish guilt and shame him for frowning all the time. They tell him to smile, stop being so sad! But it’s not his fault he’s a Pout-Pout Fish.

I read this to my child while he was still in the NICU. It was the closest book, so I just grabbed it. I thought “Oh, I know where this is going — it’s going to be a beautifully progressive story about normalizing mental health! Something will happen, and the pout-pout fish will realize it’s okay to be sad sometimes and the other fish will come to accept that depression is normal, and that would be a really great lesson for a kid who’s probably going to inherit at least some of my weird brain things!”

But I was wrong. The twist arrives when a pucker fish shows up out of nowhere, kisses the pout-pout fish, and then swims away. Suddenly, the pout-pout fish realizes: “I’m not actually pouting, I’m puckering!

And then he proceeds to swim around the ocean, non-consensually kissing every single fish who had previously shamed him for having depression.

I do not know what lesson to take away from this book besides, “Depression is bad, but you can cure it by kissing whoever you want.”

Even worse, there are more Pout-Pout Fish books! Twelve of them, in fact! Where else can this story go, now that the Pout-Pout Fish has solved his mental health issues by embracing sexual assault? The answer, apparently, is Trick-or-Treating. Then Easter. Then Hanukkah. I guess it’s nice that he comes from a blended religious background?

But that doesn’t change the premise, or the awful takeaway, or the fact that this repeated refrain is still lodged into my brain:

I’m a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place

Please recommend me children’s books that will help erase the stink of the Pout-Pout Fish.


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