Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts About Fascinating Fish

If you’ve ever thought that informational nonfiction might be dry….you need to see FREAKY, FUNKY FISH by Debra Shumaker and Claire Powell. My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick, this picture book will surely have your jaw dropping, smiles spreading, and awe popping at the wonders of nature. Come back next week when Debra Shumaker shares a bit of what happened “Behind the Scenes”—AND a chance to win a signed copy!



Title: Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts About Fascinating Fish

Written by: Debra Shumaker

Illustrated by: Claire Powell

Running Press Kids, 2021

Suitable for ages: 3-10

Themes/topics: fish, survival, marine life



Fish have fins and gills and tails.

All fish swim and most have scales.



Fish have fins and gills and tails. All fish swim and most have scales. But not all fish act or look the same. From zapping, stinging, even singing, Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts about Fascinating Fish is an adorable picture book with a scientific—and child-friendly—underpinning. With examples of different fish for each description, as well as extensive backmatter explaining the fascinating science behind these variety of fish, this funky book captures the wonder of our ecosystem.

Activities and Resources:

  • Organizing information: On your own or with others, use the example shown on the endpapers to help you build your own spreadsheet or organizer for another animal group. What categories do you need? How will you rate them?
  • Creative thinking: Imagine another kind of fish that doesn’t really exist. Which group will it be in? Draw a diagram showing the special features of the fish. Write a paragraph about how it uses its “funkiness” to survive.
  • Do you know any other fish to add to any of the categories in the back matter? Draw and label a diagram or illustration of the fish. Share what you know. Put them into a class book.

Why I like this book:

The design of this book is so outstanding, creative, and engaging! This is definitely a “knock my socks off” picture book – 5/5 for me. Shumaker created a perfectly minimal rhyming text that puts fish in categories of how they are freaky or funky, and paired this text with more lengthy informative back matter. This combination invites a wide range of readers. The illustrations are genius! I love the rating system – an opportunity for kids to analyze and evaluate. The images are fun and fascinating and bring some of the back matter into each page.  The endpapers look like a scientists logbook – sharing a spreadsheet and a map right off the bat – I was totally wowed before I hit the title page! This is an amazing example of informational nonfiction with so much to pore over and enjoy!


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.


6 thoughts on “Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts About Fascinating Fish

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