Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex

Kids know an empty threat when they hear one. So when his exasperated mom threatens to buy him a blue whale if he doesn’t start to listen, Billy Twitters doesn’t take her seriously. That is, until the said whale arrives at his front door the next morning — delivered overnight by FedUp (a witty play on FedEx).

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While most kids will be thrilled to get a pet, blue whales are probably not high on anyone’s wish list — for good reason. Ignoring the fact that whales can’t survive out of water, since this is obviously a work of fantastical children’s fiction, blue whales in particular are a humongous pain to lug around and care for, as Billy Twitters soon discovers throughout his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad — albeit hugely entertaining to read about! — day (sorry Alexander, Billy’s day makes yours look like a walk in the park).

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Just when you think Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem is just another cautionary tale for misbehaving children that long-suffering parents delight in vicariously reading, the unexpected left-field twist at the end will remind you that the mischievous authors were really on the kid’s side all along — as the most adored children’s writers always are, and should be.

Of course, Mac Barnett’s wackily original tale wouldn’t be half as effective without Adam Rex’s epic — in every sense of the word — illustrations, and it’s just incredible to see the product of two massively creative minds working in perfect synchrony and infusing every page — and I really mean every. single. page — with their irresistibly droll sense of humour. And, as if all that isn’t enticing enough, the story even cleverly weaves in some scientific information about blue whales (aka Balaenoptera musculus). It’s probably fitting that this book stars the biggest animal on earth, since it’s gonna be real hard to top this literally and metaphorically blue-whale of a tale!

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