- Age Range: 5 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
- Lexile Measure: 550 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Owlkids; Tra edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1771471980
- ISBN-13: 978-1771471985
- Product Dimensions: 12 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#582,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #166 in Books > Children's Books > Sports & Outdoors > Water Sports
- #601 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Bullies
- #1643 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Self-Esteem & Self-Respect
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Abigail the Whale Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Abigail hates Wednesday—swimming day. She hates the cold shower. She detests all the swimming strokes. She doesn't like feeling too big and heavy to be a good swimmer. She especially hates how when she dives in the water and makes a big splash, all the kids yell, "Abigail is a whale!" After class her coach gives her some advice—"We are what we think." All week long Abigail takes his advice to heart. She thinks giant to feel brave, kangaroo to jump high, statue to ignore a shot's sting, and rabbit to eat all her carrots, and to her amazement it works every time. On swimming day she's ready. She thinks stone not to feel the icy shower, rocket to dive without a splash, and then kayak, surfboard, submarine, and speedboat to master all the swim strokes. The other kids don't yell anything at all this time, but Betty says, "You're such a good swimmer now, you should jump from the high diving board!" Abigail takes the challenge, and from the top she thinks super whale and joyously cannonballs into the water below. Coincidentally (or not) the illustration shows the resulting wave splashing only Betty. Bougaeva's realistic illustrations perfectly complement the text, giving life to Abigail's thoughts and her reality, often in the same spread. Use of multiple fonts and text placement makes for fun reading and enlivens the story. VERDICT This tale of positive thinking is a great jumping-off point for a discussion about teasing, self-esteem, empathy, and perspective.-Catherine Callegari, formerly at Gay—Kimball Library, Troy, NH
—School Library Connection
"This tale of positive thinking is a great jumping-off point for a discussion about teasing, self-esteem, empathy, and perspective."
School Library Journal
"The harsh words of bullies become insignificant as Abigail faces the waters with confidence, pigtails, and an orange polka-dotted swimsuit. Perfect for virtues programs and character building at home or in classrooms."
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Top customer reviews
This is a cute picture book with adorable illustrations by Sonja Bougaeva. It was written in a language other than English, and was translated by Marlene Baleine. Most of it translated well, except referring to the "changing room" as "change room".
I enjoyed the story until the last page, which repeated the beginning with Abigail dreading swimming day. It would have been nice to see she no longer dreaded it, but realized no matter what size she was she was a fantastic swimmer.
Indeed, the book offers evocative pictures and conveys the idea of Abigail gaining self-confidence through her thought processes. For that, I can highly recommend it for girls of this particular age group. Abigail is a fortunate girl, to have a caring and wise teacher to guide her. The teacher helps Abigail to learn that “we are what we think”, and urges her to “Try it!” Abigail is a bit skeptical at first, but she is a brave and adventurous girl. She tries her hand at thinking, finding key words such as “light” and “water.” She also learns that whales can do pretty amazing things, like swimming and high diving. She finds that she is actually a--SUPER WHALE!
Good for Abigail! She finds that what she thinks is important, and she can help herself with her life’s challenges. It is very empowering to people of all ages to learn the power they possess to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.
This is an excellent, attractive and helpful book. I highly recommend it.
My thanks to author, artist, publisher and NetGalley for making a copy of this fine book available for me to read and review. My thanks also to Allison MacLachlan of Owlkids for resolving a question I had. This review also appears on my blog My Merri Way.
After class she sits down with her swimming teacher and he gives her very some wise advice. He tells her:
"We are what we think," her teacher said. "If you want to swim well, you have to think light. Do you suppose birds or fish think they're too heavy? Of course not!"
"So if you want to feel light, think light! TRY IT!
Abigail decides to give it a shot... after all what does she have to lose except those negative feelings about herself. When Abigail walks home in the dark after her class feeling small and scared she thinks... GIANT! It works! Later that night in bed Abigail thinks... HEDGEHOG in its burrow ready to sleep through the winter, and she magically falls into a deep slumber. She uses this winning technique again and again and guess what? IT ALWAYS WORKS!!! Hurray!!! But will it work at her swimming class?
She uses her "think light" strategy along with buzz words like stone, rocket, barracuda, shark, submarine, speedboat, and yes, even whale to motivate her to ward off those feelings of intimidation during her class. She accepts a challenge presented to her that before would have had her quaking right down to her toes. Does Abigail not only succeed fulfilling that dare but even surpass her own expectations of what she is capable of? And even more important, does she finally overcome her dread of swimming and become a care-free athletic whale and not an just an ordinary one like all the others?
Abigail learns to put into place positive and creative thinking skills thus allowing her to accept and even delight in the wonderful human being she is. This book will encourage conversations on bullying, empathy, gaining self-confidence in yourself and will certainly boost self-esteem. I highly recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoy it's positive message and call to creative problem solving.
The rich imagination that this inspires in Abigail will hopefully encourage other children to excel beyond their expectations. However, it is disappointing to see the way her bullying is normalized and glossed-over, and the story may be less than encouraging for overweight children who feel marginalized.
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