Review Blog

Oct 07 2014

Whale in the bath by Kylie Westaway

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318584.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Picture book, Bath time, Whales, Humour. Sent upstairs to have a bath, Bruno finds a whale has taken it over, using his bubble bath and Dad's back scrubber. He loves the warm bath water and all he needs to make things perfect is some krill. But when Bruno goes to tell his sister and mother about why he cannot have a bath, they do not believe him.
He goes back upstairs to tackle the animal, but each time he is defeated by his logic and cunning. Eventually Bruno has a shower, and readers will laugh out loud at the turn of events, as the house does not have a shower in it. All the while, Jellett's hilarious illustrations underscore the story, adding another level of humour to a funny tale. His illustrations can also be seen in recent publications, Santa's secret, and The gobbledydook is eating a book.
Discussion about lying, about avoidance, of being believed can be drawn from this engaging tale, as Bruno struggles to tell people about his problem. Each of his family dismisses his tale as yet another avoidance technique, until dad comes home. Bruno is relieved that he seems to believe him, but even Dad lets him down. Many readers will have experienced similar events and will eagerly recognise Bruno's dilemma.
Very funny on many levels, this book could be used to encourage discussion about avoidance techniques, bath time and telling stories or lies. The whale in the bath could create great discussion about the mathematical improbability of such a thing happening, of size and shape, of volume, and of the whales in our environment. The possibilities are endless.
Fran Knight

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