A collection of original stories which describes how certain animals developed from amorphous beings at the time of creation into their present, supposedly characteristic, shapes and personalities. There is nothing very lovable about these animals --a vicious owl who attempts to trick a flock of birds into providing his sustenance comes out only at night for fear the birds will attack him in revenge; a vain here who learns to hop over mountains after the moon which he has been tricked into believing is in love with him; an even vainer polar bear who shuns the other animals and withdraws to the North Pole so that no dirt can mar her white coat; a jealous hyena who laughs at leopards, and then devours their prey; and so on. In the case of the title story, the whale is described as having been banished to the sea by God (who wanders in and out of these stories in the person of an innocuous, puzzled old man) where he expands while deep in the water and then shrinks every time he comes up for air. This unusual, but unconvincing, flight into fancy has been written in narrative style. The brown and white illustrations by Rick Schreiter, which display excellent draughtsmanship and bring out the most entertaining aspects of the stories, are exceptionally fine.