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Summary: The whales are heading to the beach. Along the way, Abigale stops to help her friends who are being injured and maimed by the trash polluting the ocean. When Abigale learns the real purpose for "going to the beach" she takes her own actions so that everyone can live happily in the sea.
This is a picture book about the need to protect our waterways.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Reading Level: 4.2
Age of Child: started reading with 4½-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: With the first reading our child immediately focused on all of the things in the ocean that don't belong there! S/He thought it was funny how Abigale solved the problem … and wondered what it would be like to eat a soup can.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is great. We had to stop and explain the concept of 'beached whales.' Given the very heavy doses of hyperbole, humor, and Abigale's effervescent personality, it was hard to weave the facts about beached whales into the story.
Pros: The book's theme is important and offers children a view of the ocean's pollution at a level they can understand. The illustrations are quite expressive … even without the words. There is enough adult-oriented wording and humor to help parents withstand multiple readings.
Cons: Be prepared for tongue twisters. Some of the alliteration and adult-level turns of phrase can trip you up.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Kids love animal stories. This is one with a very important lesson, told in a way they can understand it. Middle readers will enjoy reading it themselvse.
Educational Themes: It is very easy to bring this book to life. Even if you don't live at the ocean, there are always waterways in need of cleaning. You can use this book as a catalyst for getting involved in your community, or generating ideas to be better conservators at home.
Notes: The Reading Tub™ read this book before its June 2006 release.