The Magic Fish, Winslow Pinney Pels adapted by Freya Littledale

            A fisherman goes out to sea and catches a magic fish!  The fish brings forth wishes.  What will the man wish for?  Will the wishes make he and his wife happy?


  • How to draw a fish rebus cards
  • Whole fish, keep on ice till ready to use! (See Discovery)


  • Wish (something that someone really hopes they will get because they really want it)
  • Bossy (Someone who tells other people what to do all the time)
  • Sea ( another name for the ocean)
  • Castle ( a really huge house where a might princess lives)
  • Queen ( the princesses mother and the boss of the land)

Before reading the Story

            Ask the children if they know the word bossy means.  Talk about how lots of people do not like it when someone is always telling them what to do.  Talk about how cooperation is better to help people get along.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities ti understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Reading the Story

            As the fisherman calls to the fish, encourage the children to help you call.  When you speak from the fish, make sure to add some attitude to your voice each time the fisherman comes back and asks for another wish.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

After Reading the Story

            Ask the children if they liked the fisherman in the story?  Do you think he was nice? (yes cause he told the fish his wife wanted a castle).  Did you like the wife in the story?  Was she nice? (no cause she was bossy to the man).  Did you like the fish in the story? (no cause he took all the stuff back). Accept all answers.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & problem-Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.


If you are so lucky to have a fisherperson in your classroom or life, I love doing this project with children. It really is very cool. I have brought in several small perch to a long gar fish. If not, you could ask your director if they could purchase several whole fish from the grocers. When you are finished, talk about the parts of the fish that they see on their finished product.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Music and Movement

            Teach the children the action poem Fishy, Fishy.

Fishy, fishy in the brook               Put hands together and make a fish, wiggle back & forth

Daddy catch him with a hook. Pretend to throw line out

Mommy fry you in a pan,             Hold hands palms up and rock back and forth

I can eat you, yes I can.                Pretend to eat fish


            Challenge the children you make a boat out of the blocks so we can go fishing. Which blocks will we have to use? How will you make it big enough for the 3 of you?

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; progresses in ability to put shapes together and take shapes apart.


            Teach the children how to draw a fish using basic shapes.  Let them draw fish and decorate with crayons or markers. Use the fish drawing cards.

Literacy/Print Awareness; develops growing understanding of different functions of forms of print such as signs, letters, newspapers, lists, messages, and menus. AND Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; grows in abilities to persist in and complete a variety of tasks, activities, projects, and experiences.

Math & Manipulatives

            Cut out fish shapes in several colors of paper.  Write a letter on each side of the fish.  Use letters that are from the childrens names.  Attach a paperclip to each fish.  Attach a magnet to a stick with a piece of yarn.  Let the children fish for letter fish.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 19 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

Library & Writing

Ask the children to draw a picture of something they wish for. Write their dictation on the bottom of the page. (I wish I could get a puppy. I wish my brother would not hit me).

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Sand and Water;

            Water play. Add any small boats or fish that you might have.

Dramatic play

            Bring in pictures, silk flowers, or something different to spruce up the center and make it more beautiful.

Outdoor Play

            Look for long sticks on the playground and attach yarn to one end and we use a pine cone at the other.  The children can then pretend to go fishing. You could also have the children pretend to be fish and then get caught on a fishing pole.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.


            Ask the children to tell something they might wish for as they go off to the next activity.

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.