A WHALE OF A MISTAKE by Ioana Hobai

A WHALE OF A MISTAKE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A small child wrestles with the mental aftermath of a mistake.

The mistake (never depicted) starts off small, but it feeds on worry, and soon it has ballooned into a gigantic mistake in the form of a blue whale. The mistake becomes a constant and persistent companion despite all efforts to escape it. The journey the mistake takes the child on is rough, but eventually a look up into the night sky reveals that even the stars aren’t perfect. Some are falling. Knowing the universe is full of mistakes provides perspective, allowing the child’s own mistake to shrink to a manageable size until it swims off with a wave of its tail. Through this metaphor, the text describes the internal distress experienced when looking back on a mistake. Both the narrator and the protagonist—neither named—seem to speak directly to readers, encouraging self-reflection. The absence of pronouns further allows readers to insert themselves into the shoes of the fuzzy-haired protagonist, who sports a simple blue tunic. Awash in sunset pink, blue, and purple, the watery illustrations highlight the movement of the world around protagonist and mistake. Occasionally, the painted colors are muddy and the compositions rather trite; however, the brevity of the text keeps the story moving forward.

A simple story to open a discussion on how to learn from and process mistakes, be they minnow- or whale-sized. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 17th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-62414-927-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Page Street
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2019