Not With My Whale by Billy Coughlan, with illustrations by Villie Karabatzia, is the perfect book for bedtime, especially for children who are slightly daunted by the prospect of going to school (or anything else which may be worrying them). It will have you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside for the cute story while sharing giggles over the silly antics, all while delivering an important life lesson for young readers. What more could you ask for from a picture book?
The story focuses on a little boy called Arnold who has a pet whale (as you do !) and when he isn't allowed to take his whale to school, he decides he doesn't want to go any more. This could be a problem but luckily Arnold has an amazing friend caled Dora.
Dora is great at finding solutions to problems and helps Arnold get his whale to school and deal with all the potential technical hitches, such as what to do with him at lunchtime or when Arnold wants to play football. Dora is a fantastic role model, helping out her friend and working out ways to get around problems. "I think we can manage" has turned into a bit of a catchphrase here at The Madhouse, especially when I tell the kids that something really isn't a good idea. ("We can't go out, it's pouring hard." "I think we can manage, just take umbrellas." "You need to tidy your bedroom floor, I can't even walk to the window." "I think we can manage, just climb over the bed instead, Mummy" - you get the idea ! Luckily, all delivered with a disarming cheeky grin !)
It's lovely to see Arnold coming out of his shell and making new friends, thanks to his whale, who actually turns out to be quite useful in goal or for counting bubbles during maths lessons !
The Madhouse kids absolutely loved the silly (and smelly !) ending, but we also had a more serious chat about when Pierre first went to school and some of his friends didn't want to leave their mums/favourite soft toys at home and how it's nice to be a good friend like Dora and help your friends feel better when they are worried or upset about something.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.