One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is classified as a book for beginner readers. As a book that's meant to introduce kids to words, and to get them started on a path to reading for the rest of their lives—no pressure—the book keeps the style light and fun.
The writing style is repetitive, full of rhymes that are a blast to read aloud, and delivered in such an easy, conversational style that the rhymes are easy to remember and repeat on your own time.
Rhyming? Repetition? Sounds kind of annoying, right? Maybe even forced? Not so:
Did you ever ride a Wump?
We have a Wump
with just one hump. (70-75)
Meet the Wumps. And what feels like every word in the English language that ends in –ump. First of all, the repetition of the word "bump" literally bumps us down the page. It's easy to imagine bouncing along as you ride the Wump (a creature that resembles a camel).
Of course we don't meet the Wump until three "bumps" have gone by, but when we do, we're not surprised to find he has a hump. What's a wump without a hump? A waste of good rhyming potential—that's what.
Plus, most of the words in the whole book are monosyllabic (which is, alas, not even close to being a monosyllabic word itself). These one-syllable words make it easy and fun for beginning readers to get through the book without becoming frustrated, and it adds a nice staccato rhythm that'll have your toes tapping.
It's the literary equivalent of slipping broccoli into the macaroni and cheese—if you don't know it's edifying, you might enjoy it.
The book's tone is all about having a conversation with the reader. Forget keeping a snooty distance and acting all teacherly. Seuss's narrator goes ahead and addresses the reader like an old friend:
Why do I like to
hop, hop, hop?
I do not know.
Go ask your Pop. (235-238)
The little critter on display in this section, the Yop, hops right in and talks to the reader. It introduces itself and informs the reader that it likes to hop all day long. And if you have questions? Well, that's for you to ask your Pop. You know what? This Yop seems like an okay dude.
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish speaks to children—or to the children inside of all of us—with the ease of a kindergarten teacher or mother of twelve. It leads the reader on a delightful journey that's fun and rhythmic to read aloud, and hopes that it will teach you a thing or two about reading along the way.
This Seuss classic is a perfect choice for teaching beginning readers because of how infectiously fun and exciting the story is, and how ideal it is to learn how to read aloud. The easy rhythm of the verses, as well as the way that they help to move a story forward—instead of just teaching repetitive vowels—makes the book a fun and satisfying read-aloud classic.