Fish is Fish
By Leo Lionni, Dragonfly Books
Two friends, a tadpole and a fish, live in a pond until the tadpole becomes a frog and leaves. He brings back fantastic descriptions of the outside world and the fish tries to explore this other world for himself. However, he finds out that he cannot breathe outside the water and is saved by the frog.
Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion
By Amani Talwar
There are actually a few philosophical issues in this story. This module describes only two. Please contact us if you are interested in expanding it.
When the frog describes birds, cows and people, the fish imagines them as fishlike creatures with a few special features. Most children would say that such creatures do not exist. You can ask how they can be sure of this, which would lead to a discussion about how we know what we know.
The story clearly shows that there is one thing that the frog can do but the fish cannot: breathe outside of water. You can start an interesting discussion about whether this limitation makes the fish inferior to the frog. This can be extended to a conversation about human capabilities and what it means not to be able to do something that others can.
Questions for Philosophical Discussion
Look at the kinds of creatures the fish is imagining.
The fish finds out that he cannot breathe outside water, although the frog can.