A beautiful book with intriguing illustrations--but only special children are going to be amused by the wry, philosophical text in "one of the first tales ever written" by its famous author. A giraffe and a boa constrictor, friends and philosophers, live on a "runcible" island "a long way from the coast of Kansas." When the giraffe inquires, "Where does your tail begin?. . .the rest of you leave off?." the boa replies, "I am an indivisible entity to which such hypotheses are irrelevant." They set off in a small boat (Serendipity) in search of the horizon. In a storm, they bail out their boat by drinking the bilge. They are swallowed by, and make friends with, a whale (see title), who takes them to an elephant, who explains that the horizon is not a place, and does not exist; but the three friends continue to pursue it. A sinuous boa wrapped around a patient, ridiculous giraffe, both set on discovery, may be a bore or a total mystery to average readers, but will enchant a few sophisticates. The graceful, philosophical repartee is well complemented by Austin's lustrous, detailed paintings of a pristine fantasy world.