Monday, October 24, 2016

Abigail the Whale by Davide Cali

Rating: WORTHY!

This was a wonderful book which takes a positive-thinking approach to bullying. You can't control what other people do (although you can influence it for better or for worse!), but you can control how you see what they do and how you let it affect you.

Abigail is overweight and she loves swimming, and there, at the crux of these two contentions, is her problem: people make fun of her at the pool, and call her Abigail the Whale. She makes a big splash and it's not seen in a positive light by her classmates. I was tempted to wonder why the teacher didn't berate her classmates for their bullying and their mean 'fun-making', especially given that he's the one who turns around and introduces her to positive thinking, but I doubt young kids will be quite that analytical! It would have been nice had he said something to the other kids, though.

But this is about Abigail's problem, not the teacher's, and Abigail is smart and considers this new addition to her armory seriously. Once she tries it out and finds that it works, she embraces it whole-heartedly and starts to enjoy life again, and not just at the pool. I liked the way this book offered something for the child to do, and a way to think positively about herself. It's very simplified here, but maybe this will sow a seed or two which will grow, flourish, and blossom strongly later in children's lives. I love the illustrations by Sonja Bougaeva, and the book's overall tone.