Abigail the Whale Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-08 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 9 user ratings

" Abigail does not like Wednesday's because it is swim day. When she jumps in she makes a large splash and the kids make fun of her. Her swim teacher try's to cheer her up by telling her to think light. There's a good message here, but I would have liked to see the swim teacher step in and correct the bullying. The illustrations were my favorite part of this book. They were really fantastic. " said.

" Abigail hates swimming lessons, until her swim coach suggests a visualization technique, which ultimately empowers her.I liked that Abigail takes responsibility for her outlook while be bullied, but I would have liked to have seen the bullies be reprimanded. Maybe this is life.. it's not fair. I enjoyed the illustrations (reminded me a bit Ashley Spires).I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. " said.

"Abigail is a heavyset young girl who dreads Wednesday swimming class. Aside from being teased, Abigail lacks the confidence in being the best swimmer she can be until she has a short conversation with her teacher. The teachers simple message is "We are what we think", mind over matter, she is what she makes of herself. The book tries to tackle a few underlying themes such as self confidence, building empathy, bullying/teasing, creating support for others and so on. For sure the book is unrealistic (easier said than done when it comes to handling body issues) but I enjoyed the metaphors and hope that this book helps give its readers confident boost.
*I received an ARC via NetGalley & OwlKids Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
" said.

"I really loved that body shaming and fat girlhood was explored in picture book form for kids! However, I did feel that the "think light" advice was problematic because it felt like he asked her to imagine she didn't live in the body she had, asking her not to identify with her body. Except her body isn't the problem. What would it look like to think and behave from an empowered place as a big girl owning her bigness? I think we get a taste of that at the end.

I did really like the imaginative aspects of it (and the perspective-taking that happens) and her owning of Super Whale! at the very end. I would have liked to see advice that encouraged self-love and confidence by normalizing and celebrating her body from the beginning.
" said.

"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.

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