STARRED REVIEW
June 12, 2018

Breaking free

By Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones
Review by

In the middle of a city sits a giant fishbowl, the only home a whale named Wednesday has ever known. Like the day of the week, Wednesday is always in the middle of everything, with busy people and traffic constantly circling her. Even the sun, moon and stars circle her every day as she watches the world go by.

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In the middle of a city sits a giant fishbowl, the only home a whale named Wednesday has ever known. Like the day of the week, Wednesday is always in the middle of everything, with busy people and traffic constantly circling her. Even the sun, moon and stars circle her every day as she watches the world go by.

But Wednesday discovers that if she leaps high enough out of the water, she can see a calm blue on the horizon; “Her heart leaped, too, when she saw it, though she didn’t know why.” Hoping to catch a glimpse of that marvelous blue once more, Wednesday jumps over and over again. The crowd thinks she is performing tricks, of course, and claps in merriment.

In Whale in a Fishbowl, Troy Howell’s gentle metaphor about animal captivity illustrated in a muted palette by Richard Jones, Wednesday begins to question her existence when a little girl named Piper tells the whale she doesn’t belong in a fishbowl. But where would Wednesday go? “You belong in the sea!” Piper declares. Although Wednesday is uncertain about what a sea might be, she leaps higher than ever before—with an illustration that spills out onto a fold-out page—and causes the fishbowl to topple over. Grays give way to brilliant and bountiful blues as the whale swims out of the city. In a new home, now in the middle of the sea, Wednesday finds her song, and someone else just like her, for the first time. Even the youngest of readers will understand Wednesday’s plight and heartrending need for freedom and companionship.

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Whale in a Fishbowl

Whale in a Fishbowl

By Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN 9781524715182

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