Thursday, September 16, 2010

Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson

Holding the book in my hand, I just wasn't sure it was for me. The cover seemed a little to science fiction for my taste and I struggled to get myself to open it. In laid a case of "don't judge a book by it's cover." Though the book seems science fictiony - the truth is it's rather funny. I chuckled several times. The premise is silly but then so are so many other stories that fall into this category.
Lily goes to work with her father one day to discover his boss is really a human whale hybrid and plans to take over the world with his army of whales on stilts. To help her save the day are her two best friends Katie and Jasper, both of them famous adventurers with their own series of fictional works. The story is simple - the good guys stop the bad guys and the laughter does not come from failed attempts or mistakes that they make but from quick wit and the author's little random bits. For example, Jasper's fan club is sponsored by a Ovaltine knockoff which appears here and there - similar to a 1950's tv show.
I think my favorite line is - Katie shrugged. "With fiends like these, who needs anemones?"
Another thing about this book is it's touching way it pulls in other topics. Such as a scene where Lily saves Katie and the authors of Katie's books come in and say that Lily can not be the hero because she's not pretty enough. Katie defends Lily and they talk about having your own story. Katie says "It's your story. You have to realize that it really is. It's only when people realize that the story can be about them that they can start to change things."
This book is like a Bugs Bunny cartoon - simple enough for the youngest reader but the adults will get more of the jokes. In this case, the jokes are very clean but may not be understood by readers who haven't been exposed to movies and tv from the 50's.

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