Abigail the Whale Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 9 user ratings

"The title aside, I had hopes that this book for readers ages 6-8 would help reverse the body shaming of young girls. Abigail is a heavyset white girl on the swim team. As the book opens, she walks towards a group of jeering, thin white girls. They are making fun of her weight. The coach, a large, white male, does nothing to silence the bullying. He only tells Abigail, "if you want to feel like, think light."

Abigail practices this mind-over-matter advice to think "giant" to feel big and powerful as she walks home. When confronted with getting a good night's sleep, she thinks "hedgehog" to burrow in her bed.

The success with this mind trick continues when she thinks rocket and is able to enter the water without making a splash. The thin girls who mocked her earlier now cheer her on.

" said.

"When I first read the description for this book, I was like, WOW! Great! A book about bullies and fat shaming as it applies to kids. This is awesome! But I was rapidly let down. Bullying is a serious problem, and speaking as someone who was constantly bullied it can have serious lasting effects. Although it's wonderful that Abigail was able to boost her own confidence, the book never addresses the root problem - the bullies in her swim class. The ignoring of the bullies by the instructor, an adult who should have stepped in, is the same as saying their behavior is socially acceptable and that it's up to Abigail to deal with them by ignoring them and becoming more confident. Well written, but a serious missed opportunity that prevents me from giving this a higher rating.

Received for review
" said.

"Pre-K to 4th Grade. A sweet picture book about a little girl who isn't feeling confident in herself. She dreads going to swimming class because other students tease her about her size. One day, her teacher pulls her aside and gives her advice: "We are what we think." She begins imagining herself as different things to get through the day. For instance, she visualizes herself as a giant when she's scared while walking home in the dark.

The illustrations are beautiful, especially the full page ones! I liked how Abigail took control of how she thought of herself, but I do wish the swim instructor would have taken control of his class. It would be a good jumping off point for talking about bullying and how it affects others. There's a good message about not letting other people determine your self-image, though sometimes that's easier said than done!

I received this book from Owlkids Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
" said.

"I have mixed feelings about this book. Being a heavy person who was a heavy child I wanted to see how this issue was handled. I was quite impressed with how the swim instructor handled the issue of Abigail's size, but I was less than impressed about the way the bullying was dealt with.

When Abigail jumps into the pool she makes waves and splashes everyone. The other kids in the swim class tease her and call her a whale. Rather than telling her to lose weight, or to not jump in, her teacher tells her to think of herself as light. To visualize other things and you will see them in a different light. This works for her when walking in the dark and not being able to fall asleep at night. When she goes to her swim class the next week, she imagines herself as an eel and a barracuda and she swam beautifully. This made all the other children proud of the way she learned to swim and the teasing stops.

Unfortunately, that is not the way it works in life. I know this book could be used to discourage bullying by talking about what the other children were doing that was not appropriate and what they should or could be doing. I think that children that are being bullied and ridiculed may think it is their own fault based upon their self-perception. If used appropriately this book could be used to help children reach their full potential and hopefully to discuss the wrongness of teasing and bullying.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
" said.

"Abigail the Whale is a picturebook written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Sonja Bougaeva. Abigail dreads swimming lessons because every time she dives into the pool, she makes a big splash, and all the girls in her class shout: “Abigail’s a whale!” Abigail can see that she is larger than the other girls. She feels huge, heavy, and out of place. Abigail’s swimming teacher points out that we can change how we see ourselves. He shows her a way to feel bolder, more confident, and more accepting of herself. Abigail tries it out in challenging situations that week; walking home in the dark, eating her vegetables, trying to fall asleep. Next time she’s in swimming class, instead of feeling heavy, Abigail thinks sardine, eel, barracuda, shark! She starts to figure out how to draw on mindfulness, creative thinking, resilience, and positive self-esteem to embrace exactly who she is.

Abigail the Whale is a book that many of us can identify with. Abigail is a big girl, and hates the splash she makes when she jumps in the pool, and the way the kids tease her because of it. When her coach tells her that "We are what we think" she puts that idea to work everywhere she goes. I love that the illustrations show her imagination and changing perspectives about herself and the world around her. While positive and creative thinking cannot solve everything, it is a good, healthy way to start. i also like that she does not think herself thin when it comes time to dive again. instead she works with herself and thinks about being light and agile, like a rocket or shark. She does not get down on herself about her weight, nor does her coach, instead they work on tools to achieve what she wants to without worrying about other people, which is easier said than done. I liked that even when using her tools, and trying her best, Abigail was still nervous and worried, just like anyone would be in her place.

Abigail the Whale is a wonderful example of thinking and doing big things, without giving in to bullying and fear. Not only does it give a good example of creative thinking, it can also serve as a conversation or thought starter about self-confidence, bullying, empathy, and problem solving. A wonderful book to address this issues at home or in a classroom setting.
" said.

"Every Wednesday Abigail attends swimming lessons, and every Wednesday she gets teased by the other kids in her class, causing her to feel humiliated and ostrasized. Because of the way she is treated she hates swimming and just wants to run away and hide. But that's not the real reason she feels so downhearted and dejected. Why you may ask does she feel this way then? You see when it's Abigail turn to dive into the water she causes a tsunami because she is larger than the other kids. After she creates a huge splash on entry they all shout at her" "Abigail's a whale!!" Poor Abigail, once she is submerged, she doesn't want to surface again and face her taunting foes.

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.
" said.

" A cute story about building confidence in yourself in the face of negative comments from others. " said.

" Great book for teaching mindset! " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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