Monday, August 13, 2012

Picture Book Monday - A review of Billy Twitters and his blue whale problem

Children all over the world are used to being threatened with dire consequences if they don't do their chores, eat their dinner, brush their teeth, or go to bed on time. They are told that they will be grounded, will not get any dessert, or will not get their allowance that week. The boy in today's picture book story is threatened with something so outrageous that he does not take the threat seriously, which is a BIG mistake.

Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Hyperion, 2009, 978-078684958-1
When Billy Twitters’ mom gets fed up with his behavior, she threatens that she will buy him a blue whale. When he doesn’t clean his room, eat his dinner, or brush his teeth she always makes the same threat. Billy is not worried though because he knows that blue whales are enormous, and that his parents can’t just pick up the phone and order a blue whale.
   Then one morning Billy wakes up and finds out that a blue whale is blocking the front door. Apparently blue whales can be ordered and delivered after all. Bill’s mother tells him that the whale is his responsibility and that he, Billy, has to take the whale wherever he goes, including to school.
   Billy very quickly figures out that having a pet whale is a nuisance, a really really big nuisance. Billy’s classmates don’t appreciate the whale’s presence, he gets uninvited from a birthday party, and taking care of the whale is not at all easy. In fact, it is back breaking work. It would seem that Billy has got himself into a real situation.
   Readers will laugh out loud when they see Billy struggling to take care of his huge pet. Clearly having a pet blue whale is not a good idea. Nothing good comes of it. Just when we think that the story is over, we are given an ending that is a huge surprise. What a clever way to end a cautionary tale!

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