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*Abigale the Happy Whale* by Peter Farrelly, illustrated by Trip Park


Abigale the Happy Whale
by Peter Farrelly, illustrated by Trip Park
Grades 2-4 32 pages Megan Tingley June 2006 Hardcover    

Adults looking for a children’s book that has a story with a beginning, middle, and end, along with witty dialogue and illustrations that will cause even the grumpiest child to smile, will be incredibly pleased with Abigale the Happy Whale. Author Peter Farrelly, known for co-writing such adult comedies as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary and Stuck on You, has penned a children’s book that shows the transferability of his literary skills.

In this book, a group of whales make the unpleasant journey to throw themselves upon the beach, risking their lives to show beachgoers the impact of ocean pollution on their daily lives. Abigale is a happy whale who is (at least initially) completely ignorant of what lies at the end of this journey. As she brings up the rear of the line, she comes across an enormous amount of trash discarded in the ocean and speaks with numerous sea creatures about how the garbage has impacted them. Each creature’s experience with pollution is vibrantly explained.

The characters cover all bases, from Clem the Clam, who acts like a real dip because someone dropped an old television set on his clam bed, to Blackie the Goldfish, who is in a bad mood because he has more oil on him than a can of sardines, to Wordsmith the Swordfish, who has a large tire lodged on his protruding nose, to Moby Duck who is covered with garbage including four bottles (two with messages), a doll with one arm, twenty-two corks, and a pair of men’s underwear inscribed with the words “be my valentine.”

This story is not only entertaining but a great way to teach children about the impact thoughtless daily habits such as discarding trash in the ocean rather than in the appropriate receptacle may have on the wildlife that considers the ocean their home. The dialogue is clever and creative, and along with the bright, cheery and highly animated illustrations truly brings each sea creature to life. This book is a wonderful story on all fronts, and will likely leave your child yearning for the author’s next ocean adventure to surface.

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  Lori West/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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