By M.T. Anderson
AR Level 4.6
Word Count: 22071
Suggested readers: Grades 3rd-6th
So. I’ve posted three books so far, and all of them have one major thing in common. HUMOR! And I’m not alone in my love of laughter. Each year, Scholastic releases a Kids & Family Reading Report, and toward the top of the most-wanted list of each is humor. Of course, what one reader finds funny may not appeal to another. My personal tastes hover around absurd or dry humor and M.T. Anderson’s Whales on Stilts fits the bill perfectly.
In the first intallment of National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson’s Pals in Peril series, a madman has unleashed an army of stilt-walking, laser-beaming, thoroughly angry whales upon the world! Luckily, Jasper Dash and his friends Katie Mulligan and Lily Gefelty are around to save the day.
Sure, Lily Gefelty is just an average twelve-year-old girl. But her dad—a normal-enough-seeming guy—just so happens to work for an evil genius who plans to unleash an army of extremely cranky, stilt-walking, laser-beam-eyed whales upon the world.
Lucky for Lily, her two best friends are anything but average. Both of them are famous for their adventures. Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut, invents gadgets; Katie Mulligan spends her spare time fighting off zombies and were-goats. Surely they’ll know what to do. And if they don’t? Then it will be up to Lily—average, everyday Lily—to come up with a plan.
Lily is the perfect “everyman” character to offset the absurdity going on around her. Her “averageness” is a trait many young readers will identify with. Especially the fact that young Lily is anything but average. This is the first book in the Pals in Peril series, so it’s the perfect place to start. Readers who enjoy this book might also like the Adventurer’s Guide books by Wade Albert White or the Hero’s Guide series by Christopher Healey.