Whales on Stilts
Author: M.T. Anderson; Illustrator: Kurt Cyrus
Pages: 224
Publisher/Date: Harcourt/2006 (pb)
ISBN: 0152053948
Age Levels: 10 and up

Read and listen to an excerpt from the book.

Book Review

It is career day and twelve-year-old Lily Gefelty accompanies her father to work—an abandoned warehouse which contains a "dangerous, highly guarded high-tech, secret scientific laboratory."

When Lily meets her father’s boss, Larry, she knows something is amiss. Larry wears a grain sack over his head (with two holes cut out for his eyes), has blue, rubbery hands and proceeds to pour a vat of brine over his head. When he lets slip that he plans on taking over the world, Lily is astonished. She questions her father: "Dad . . . Don’t you think that Larry is . . . strange? I mean . . . how he wants to take over the world?" He father replies, "Honey sometimes adults use irony. They don’t really mean what they say."

Unlike the adults around her (who don’t seem to notice the odd goings-on), Lily believes Larry is a mad scientist, intent on taking over the world. Fortunately, Lily has two adventuresome friends to whom she turns for help—Jasper Dash (Boy Technonaut) and Katie Mulligan (Crime Fighter).

After some investigation, the trio learn that Larry does indeed have plans for world domination. He intends to accomplish this by unleashing "extremely cranky, stilt-walking, laser-beam-eyed whales" upon an unsuspecting planet. Will the youngsters be able to stop Larry and the whales before it’s too late?

Anderson has appended "A Guide for Reading and Thinking: Questions for further study" which is a hilarious spoof of test-preparation material. Whales on Stilts is filled with funny asides, witty dialogue, gentle jabs at book series (Goosebumps), a pages-long footnote, and clever, tongue-in-cheek writing. A truly fun and funny read.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2007 Education Oasis http://www.educationoasis.com

About the Author

M. T. Anderson studied English literature at Harvard and Cambridge Universities and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

About the Illustrator

Kurt Cyrus is the illustrator of many books for children. He lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon.