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Abigale the Happy Whale    by Peter Farrelly & Jamie Rama order for
Abigale the Happy Whale
by Peter Farrelly
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This picture book opens on 'a large family of humpback whales' swimming sadly and quietly through the Santa Monica Bay, over the human garbage that litters the ocean floor. But wait ... one of them isn't miserable. Abigale the Happy Whale swims at the back, singing, laughing, eating, and playing with her smaller Sea People friends.

She helps them deal with the debris tossed into the polluted sea by the Land People, cheers them up, and tells them the whales are heading to the beach. But why, they wonder. So Abigale asks the Head Whale. He explains they're beaching themselves to get human attention for the marine creatures' plight. They're almost there when Abigale passes under Moby Duck, 'a duck covered with yuck' - oil from an oil spill has made all kinds of things stick to him (they're listed here in full!) When he advises that beaching themselves will do the whales and ocean no good, Abigale takes 'matters into her own fins' and you'll love her out-of-the-ocean solution to humanity's pollution of her habitat.

Peter Farrelly treats a serious problem in a manner to which kids can easily relate - the humor of his sea critter names (like Wordsmith the Swordfish and Neil the Eel) and in Jamie Rama's antic underwater illustrations makes Abigale the Happy Whale a delightful read. The sea denizens have 'a whale of a time' and so will you!

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