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Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  683 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
A blue whale is longer than thirty dogs lined up nose to tail. Its tongue weighs as much as four hundred cats. Blue whales make terrible pets....Just ask Billy Twitters.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Hyperion Books
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Community Reviews

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Feb 08, 2015 GoldGato rated it really liked it

"Billy Twitters, clean up your room, or we're buying you a blue whale."

You don't take responsibility for your actions? A blue whale will be delivered to your doorstep. You'll have to take that whale to school, you'll have to clean that whale, and you'll have to figure out how to move that whale around the neighborhood.

I think if my parents had ever told me I could have a blue whale, my chores would have definitely gone to the wayside. Of course, the warning here is being accountable for the larg
Lisa Vegan
Nov 04, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: just about everybody with a sense of humor who can enjoy children’s picture books
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
This book is a total delight from beginning to end. And I do mean beginning (from the hilarious dedication) to the end (the author’s and illustrator’s biography sections on the back inside cover: the author is the founder of a convenience store for time travelers, seriously.)

I added this book to my san-francisco shelf because, even though in the book this could take place in any community close to the ocean, on the back cover is the Golden Gate Bridge in the background with the rear end of Billy
Oct 21, 2015 NiteReader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-picture
My daughter and I loved every word. :)
Jan 26, 2012 Annette rated it it was amazing
This book was so hilariously, ridiculous, I loved it. I laughed more than the boys did as I read it. Billy's mom decides that if he can't keep his room clean then his parents are going to buy him a blue whale. He has to take it to school and take care of it, but in the end he finds a solution to all his problems. We loved this book. Mac Bernett includes some facts about blue whales and some evolution to go along with that, but since it was a read-aloud I was able to remove the evolutionary comme ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it
If my GoodReads friends hadn't given this such glowing reviews, I might have only given it three stars. I'll give it four, not due to peer pressure but because I think three is a bit unfair. You see, it's a very clever and funny book, I'm just not sure how much of an Adam Rex fan I am (sorry, Abigal, Chandra and Lisa!!!) Still, I think kids will love the over-the-top whale-tale and most will probably wish they could escape their problems in the way Billy eventually solves his! ;-)
May 23, 2009 Rachael rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Mac Barnett did a great job with the story in this picture book - a blue whale would teach anyone the importance of responsibility, but let's be honest: it's Adam Rex that makes this book great. Whether it's his krill-of-the-month club endpapers or the sly humor of a girl her giant squid at the playground, Rex is what made me keep flipping back through this book again and again. And now I have my next tattoo picked out. Thank you, Adam Rex!
Benji Martin
Feb 17, 2015 Benji Martin rated it really liked it
This is a good book on it's own, especially for it being Mac's first book ever, but what really makes it, is the offer for the free blue whale on the back. When the kids write to the address, they get a letter informing them that unfortunately, their whale can't be delivered at the moment, but they get a phone number where they can call the whale and leave a message. It's great.
Adrienne Furness
"Frank always smells like corn chips, even when he hasn't been eating them."

I read this book when it first came out, but I'd forgotten how funny it is. Even the dedications are funny.
Kelly Sue
Barnett, Mac. Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem. Illus. Adam Rex. New York: Hyperion Books, 2009. Print. – In this story, Billy Twitters is put in a bit of a predicament. Billy has not been very obedient to his mother when she tells him to do things like clean his room or eat his vegetables. Every time he doesn’t do as he’s told, his mother threatens that they will buy him a blue whale. Billy isn’t too worried, because it must be hard to get a blue whale to his house. His parents, on the ...more
Michelle McBeth
Jun 03, 2015 Michelle McBeth rated it really liked it
SUMMARY: Every time Billy does not obey his parents, they threaten to get him a blue whale as punishment. He doesn't believe them because he doesn't think it can happen. But one day it does. He has to take the blue whale everywhere with him which causes all sorts of problems because, well, the whale is gigantic. His teacher his thrilled to be able to teach about whales instead of cowboys. Billy's whale comes with all sorts of responsibilities. Billy decides to move his bedroom inside of the whal ...more
Jul 01, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: librarians reading to 2nd graders
When Billy Twitters misbehaves, his mom threatens to send him a blue whale. Billy knows how big blue whales are, so he's not worried. But then a block long packing crate shows up the next morning...

Adam Rex's clever illustrations meld well the Mac Barnett's text and the solution to Billy's problem may not be what you'd think...
Feb 01, 2014 Relyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: whimsical teachers and parents and every single kid
Recommended to Relyn by: Pinterest
Shelves: lawsonland
If you are a teacher who wants to get your students to read every part of the book - even the author's note - this book is for you. Just look at the end papers.

If you are a parent who has a crazy, kooky, dreamy kid (and who doesn't?), this book will make you a hero at read aloud time.

If you are a parent who has a child who likes to laugh, this book will have you all in stitches.

If you are a tired, slightly grumpy adult who needs a minute to remember the fun of childhood, this book fits the bi
Jan 24, 2013 Debbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Prudence Wants a Pet started a discussion of "interesting" children's book about pets, including Cecil the Pet Glacier, and this one.
Carol Ekster
Mar 25, 2014 Carol Ekster rated it liked it
While the book is imaginative and fun, and I love the comparing of ordinary items to the size of the whale, I believe it is important to have a theme or emotional plot in a story. And Billy gets this whale because his mom threatens him with it when he disobeys. So what's the message? I wouldn't share this with a child because of the lack of clarity and what it might teach. He was fine dealing with his consequence. He moved into the whale...which is much bigger and so you don't see the mess in hi ...more
Jan 19, 2010 Erica rated it it was amazing
Billy won't clean his room. His parents threaten to get him a blue whale if he doesn't clean his room. One day the FedUp truck (according to the side of the truck delivers punishment worldwide) delivers a blue whale to Billy's house. His parents obviously weren't kidding. So Billy has to take the blue whale to school with him, putting the blue whale on a skateboard and pulling it with his bike. The whale causes some big problems for Billy at school. After school when the bus breaks down, Billy g ...more
Nov 25, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing
“Billy Twitters, clean up your room or we’re getting you a blue whale.” When Billy’s mom makes good on her threat, he finds himself responsible for the feeding and care of one Balaenoptera musculus. Billy steps up to the task without complaint, pulling his whale to school up San Francisco’s famous hills on a skateboard, and then enduring what one might expect with such an unexpected burden – he gets uninvited from Alexis Winters-Pierce’s party, since his whale won’t fit in her pool; engages in a ...more
Kim Struyk
Sep 13, 2014 Kim Struyk rated it it was amazing
Barnett, M. (2009). Billy twitters and his blue whale problem. New York: Hyperion Books.

no journal necessary

choice book

I love this book because it is creative, funny, and unique. Not only does it have a massage that many adolescents can relate to, but it also “sneaks” in tons of factual information about Blue Whales! the illustrations are humorous, and I think tons of young students can relate to the message.

I can't wait for the author to write more so i can learn about other topics in a fun
Well, it's illustrated by Adam Rex, so we pretty much feel a sense of ownership, and of course we loved it. A very funny picture book with fabulous illustrations. How funny is it? The endpapers are funny, the dedications are funny, the idea of flossing a baleen is funny. The back cover shows a string of cats following the whale. Adults and older kids will enjoy it as much as younger kids.
Rhonda K
Sep 16, 2015 Rhonda K rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
One of the great things about reading with young people (in this case a 6 y.o. boy) is the conversation you have about the stories. My son insisted a whale was not a practical pet. For parents there is a bigger message for kids to get but my son wasn't going to let me go there. So enjoy the Adam Rex artwork (stunning) and the silly story, and clean your room some other day.
Jun 19, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
My mother never said this to me, thank goodness, but Billy Twitter's mother threatened to buy him a blue whale every time he didn't do something he was supposed to like eating his peas, brushing his teeth, or cleaning his room. At some point though, the threat stopped being idle and the whale arrived via FedUp Delivery Service. This book is as strange as they come and it's funny for that reason. This is absurdist humor at its finest. He takes the whale to school, goes through all the daily trial ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
FANTASTIC artwork in this book. The plot, however, goes nowhere pretty fast. Don't get me wrong; a kid having to cart a blue whale around the streets of San Francisco is pretty funny, but the story doesn't go anywhere, and the ending is most unsatisfying. FANTASTIC artwork, though.
Christine Turner
Feb 12, 2015 Christine Turner rated it really liked it
Shelves: school, pets, ocean, humor
Blue whale -- Juvenile fiction.
Whales -- Juvenile fiction.
Schools -- Juvenile fiction
Humorous stories

A blue whale is longer than thirty dogs lined up nose to tail. Its tongue weighs as much as four hundred cats. Blue whales make terrible pets....Just ask Billy Twitters.
Ms Threlkeld
Apr 05, 2015 Ms Threlkeld rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A very quirky book about a boy whose parents punish him by saddling him with a blue whale. Kids will either be tickled or confused by the odd situation. The illustrations suck the reader in with their expressiveness and could be used to talk to students about making inferences.
Oct 08, 2010 Shelli rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Billy Twitter’s is a bit of a slob; cleaning his room and doing his chores are just not a priority. His parent’s threaten to “buy him a blue whale” if he doesn’t change his ways. How this is supposed to help I’m not sure except for adding to the books hilarity and absurdity, which I am fine with. One day the Fed-Up truck shows up delivering Billy’s punishment: a blue whale. Will lugging a blue whale around all day and caring for this massive mammal really teach Billy responsibility???

I loved Ma
I guess I had only skimmed this book a few months back, but forgot to read it all. It's even funnier than I thought it would be at first glance. The ending is OK. I had hoped for something better. But otherwise, an odd book with some interesting facts and a funny impossibilities. Perfect for school-age storytime.

7/22/10 The kids liked the book for the most part. I don't think they were thrilled with the ending, but they enjoyed seeing Billy's adventures with his whale. And as the "theme" was Sil
Mar 07, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Lots of fun and, incidentally, educational. Billy is given a blue whale as a punishment and he has to take care of it throughout the day, often a greater challenge than you'd imagine since he lives in hilly San Francisco.
Anna Smithberger
Apr 13, 2016 Anna Smithberger rated it liked it
Cute little picture book that has tons of useful and interesting info about the blue whale, but not my favorite from either Barnett or Rex. But it does have one of the best dedications I've ever seen in a picture book.
Sep 09, 2010 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Billy Twitters' parents are always tell him to shape up, or else "we'll buy you a blue whale!" Odd, my parents never threatened me with a blue whale. Anyway...these parents keep their promises, and soon, Billy wakes to find a blue whale blocking his doorway. What now?

The ending's a little weird (well, okay, the whole book is weird, but what would one expect from Mac Barnett & Adam Rex?), but some of the stuff in this picture book is hilarious. (I love the two boys at school who give Billy a
Jan 08, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
I really like Mac Barnett's humor and sense of "quirkiness". This book will be fun to share with students-especially with the nifty endpapers and the difference in the book's jacket and cover.
Oct 08, 2015 Steph rated it liked it
The dedication is my favorite part. I LOVE the relationship between Mac Barnett and Adam Rex. :-) Watch the book trailer for their book Chloe and the Lion to see more of their antics!
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
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