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Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem    by Mac Barnett & Adam Rex order for
Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem
by Mac Barnett
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Once too often Billy Twitters has failed to clean his room and now his mother plans to make good on her threat to buy the child a blue whale. Is Billy worried? Of course not. He tells the reader, 'I'm not worried. See, I know a thing or two about blue whales. I mean, they're the biggest animals in the world, ever. It's not like you can just have one delivered to your house overnight.' WRONG!

As he discovers the next morning, there's a VERY BIG surprise awaiting Billy on his doorstep. What follows is the silly story of how this little boy deals with a very, very large mammal. Getting the whale to school is just the beginning of Billy's ordeal. After he totally disrupts the classroom, Billy finds he has even more problems when he gets home. Now he has responsibilities which translate into hours of whale maintenance. Finally, taking a page from Pinocchio, the clever child comes up with a solution for living with a Balaenoptera musculus.

Although this seemingly nonsensical picture book for children three years of age and older centers on a silly situation, there's a bit of method to the madness. You might think the latent message here is 'See what can happen if you don't keep your room tidy!' Unfortunately, the humorous and unexpected ending blunts that admonition.

On the other hand, embedded in this weird tale are some interesting facts about blue whales. So, without even realizing it, the reader has learned something about the vast size and the eating habits of the mammoth creature.

After the giggles subside, your child will know that a blue whale traps its food using baleen, it can remain underwater for an hour, and it consumes krill. Now, how cool is that?

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