Thursday, September 26, 2013

Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale problem by Mac Barnett illustrated by Adam Rex

When I saw the cover of this book Billy Twitters and his blue whale problem I immediately thought of one of my most favourite picture books Billy's Bucket.  In addition to the main character called Billy there are a lot of things that could link these two books.  The main thing is that these boys both have gumption.

Billy's parents constantly threaten him :  "clean up your room ...brush your teeth ... finish your baked peas or we're buying you a blue whale."  Billy our narrator is, however, a very smart boy.  He knows this is impossible since a blue whale is the biggest animal in the world.  "It's not like you can just have one delivered to your house overnight" or can you?  The next page has no words just a double spread showing an enormous delivery truck arriving from the company called "Fedup delivering punishments worldwide." The delivery guy even has Fedup on his cap and in the distance you can see another man with two large flashlights directing the truck which contains the blue whale.

Mum and dad explain the blue whale is Billy's responsibility and this includes taking the whale to school. Billy tucks his skateboard under the whale and tows him with his bike up the hill.   When he arrives the science teacher is delighted.  Even though Billy enjoys talking about his whale he has to endure a hard time among his peers.  On the way home the bus breaks down but the whale saves the day.

Billy arrives home but his torture is not complete.  Dad gives Billy the blue whale owner's manual and Billy sees all the instructions for washing, waxing and checking the whale for barnacles but his biggest problem is how can he feed the whale.  He needs krill and ten thousand gallons of sea water.  How will Billy solve this problem? The ending is such a terrific twist this is a book you will want to read over and over again.

One more thing you must look closely under the dust jacket and at the marvelous end papers which reminded me of an old fashioned newspaper.  You can read about the process of illustrating this book here. Here is the web site for the author.  Extra Yarn also by Mac Barnett is a very special title which I will review in coming weeks. Here are some lesson ideas.

No comments: