WHALE IN A FISHBOWL by Troy Howell
Kirkus Star

WHALE IN A FISHBOWL

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wednesday the whale, like the day of the week, is positioned in the center of town.

Her gigantic, downtown fishbowl is surrounded by traffic, buildings, and people “flurrying, hurrying, worrying.” Despite the rocks, fish, and plants in her bowl, she is clearly bored and lonely. The cityscape is painted and digitally composed in a muted palette of grays, browns, and pinks; the lyrical text builds mystery. The one thing that engages Wednesday is the “calm bit of blue” seen in the distance if she exerts herself and leaps upward. When a frequent canine observer is joined by its owner—a light-skinned girl in a paisley dress—the seed for escape is planted. Attracted to Piper’s blue eyes, the whale ponders her parting message: “you don’t belong in there.” Wednesday tries leaping again, but fog obscures the view. People start gathering, misunderstanding her motivation: The mammal is not performing. In a final spectacular attempt—highlighted in a vertical gatefold opening and observed by girl and dog—the fishbowl is knocked over, water gushes down the street, and Wednesday flows into the ocean, a lovely blue-green presence so vast it rises nearly to the top of the spread. The whale’s reaction? “And for the first time in her life, she sang.”

This subtle, satisfying narrative will be especially appealing to introspective readers who yearn for something that’s perhaps yet unknown. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5247-1518-2
Page count: 42pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2018




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