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Whales on Stilts: M.T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales (Pals in Peril #1)

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,583 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews
Lily Gefelty and her two best friends, Jasper Dash and Katie Mulligan, attempt to foil the plans of a madman who has unleashed an army of stilt-walking, laser-beaming, thoroughly angry whales upon the world
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Listening Library (first published 2005)
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Nov 12, 2007 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a kind of a different little story--I found it quite funny and amusing, and a neat spoof on B movies. Amongst the silliness of whales on stilts taking over the world, though, there are also some more thoughtful points, like how the heroine is not as flashy or brilliant or outgoing as her friends are--yet she still saves the day. Also there are one or two really beautiful passages that are kind of startling, coming as they do sandwiched in between the humor.
I also liked the hilarious "que
2010, January 23

Oh, I'm loving this. I'm trying to force the Offspring into loving it, too, by reading passages aloud, but no one else is hooked. Funniest concept since Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom.


If the Spouse wrote a parody of children's series books, it would be this book. I recommend it to adults who'll laugh at jokes about the British invasion and David Bowie's eyes.


Now I'm reading it aloud to the KitKatPandaBatWolf. I love this little book.

Library copy

Aug 26, 2011 Krista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up for my kid at the library, flipped through it real quick to scan for possible emotional potholes and decided that it was so ironic and tongue-in-cheek that it would be fine.

And it was. My son laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I read it and laughed and laughed and laughed. MT Anderson is funny. And funny in a way that appeals to a seven year old and his jaded mother. Both.

This is not one of those books that tries too hard to be clever. This is one of those books that just sim
This book is absolutely hilarious, but don't take it from me. Take it from the third-grade book club I read it with at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. They are now enthralled with whales, mad scientists, and goofy gadgets. They're also planning how to fight an army of laser-eyed whales on stilts: kickboxing robots will save us from the impending Whalepocalypse.
Mayday Maddie
This has to be the strangest book I've ever read. I picked it up because M.T. Anderson (*feed*) had written it. What did I learn?

A. M.T. Anderson is not consitent at all when writing books.
B. M.T. Anderson likes carrot cake.
C. A rhinoplasty is another word for a cosmetic surgery (according to M.T.)
D. Whales. Are. Scary.

No further comment.
Dec 06, 2012 Maddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adolescent-lit
What a silly book! haha seriously it's about whales on stilts and 3 kids who save the world, and I loved it. I admit I'm a little past that stage in my reading, but MT Anderson is so clever; there are jokes for all ages of readers. I especially loved the spoof on "Ovaltine", which I drink every morning. "Gargletine" didn't sound so bad! I recommend this for any age--from grade school up to anyone who wants a really quick and very entertaining read! Super clever, super giggly, and I'
Sep 09, 2009 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sardonic kids who act older than they really are
While it pains me to give the literary love of my good friend's life a single star, it's something I feel I must do.

The humor was wry, which I appreciate, but somehow off the mark. I could see how some people might find this book hysterically funny, I really could. But like watching the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, I was the cheese standing alone NOT laughing. I have no doubt other find it funny, but I am not others and I simply didn't buy in. Sigh.

Too over the top. Who is his intended audience
Brigid Keely
"Whales on Stilts (Pals in Peril #1) by M. T. Anderson, was recommended to me by a friend who picked it up for a reluctant reader. It did the trick for that kid. My kid isn't reading on his own yet, not really (he needs a bit of help to get through a level 1 reader and gets really tired reading an entire short book by himself) (reading is SUPER hard work when you're just a little kid) but I figured this would be a great book to read aloud to him.

It's a pretty thrilling and action-packed book wit
You have to be in the right mood to get this one: satire, satire, satire. And funny.

And if your boss has blue flippers and wears a potato sack on his head, this can be a real eye-opener.
Dec 13, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I'm not really familiar with M.T. Anderson's work as a whole; a couple of his more traditionally Young Adult novels have caught my eye from time to time, but Whales on Stilts! is the first book of his that I've actually read through and, I have to say, it did not make me anxious to pick up his other books in a hurry.

It's hard to say where exactly this book goes wrong. One major problem is that, instead of a straightforward story, the author decides to go all post-modern on our assess, featuring
Lily believed that the world was a magical place. She believed that if you watched carefully enough, you could find miracles anywhere. The town's baseball team had a secret handshake that went back to the time of the settlers. A professor down the street had a skeleton hanging in his vestibule. Behind the dry cleaner, some ladies held newt races. There were interesting things like this everywhere, waiting to be noticed.

It's basically Eerie, Indiana: The Book and it is GLORIOUS.
Doc Rotwang!
Dec 22, 2013 Doc Rotwang! rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up on a whim -- crazy premise, looked wacky, on sale at Half-Price Books.

By the end of the book I had wept, I had felt a nostalgic sense of loss, I had been delighted, I had wept some more and I had a new favorite book.

Such is the power of Whales On Stilts!: ostensibly a facetious YA bundle of yuks, it articulates emotions that are difficult to face within oneself, let alone express to others.

Plus there's a photocopy machine rugged up to work with a donkey. Genius, true genius, m
Sierra Salyards
Title: Whales on Stilts!
Author: M.T. Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme(s): science, adventure, friendship. good vs. evil, animals
Opening line/sentence: "On career day Lily visited her dad's work with him and discovered he worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the earth through destruction and desolation."
Brief Book Summary: Lily thinks that her dad's boss is up to no good! She believes that he is trying to destroy the world via giant, laser-beam infused whales. Once the whales are on t
Title: Whales on Stilts
Author: M.T. Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Opening line/sentence: On Career Day Lily visited her dad’s work with him and discovered he worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the earth through destruction and desolation.
Brief Book Summary: Lily feels out of place after her two friends starred in their own adventure book series. But when she finds out her father is working for an evil scientist, she steps up (along with her two “sid
Jul 28, 2015 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“On Career Day Lily visited her dad's work with him and discovered the worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the Earth through destruction and desolation.” But her dad won’t listen to reason, and so she must rely on her friends for help. Fortunately, Lilly has friends that have experience with this sort of thing: Jasper and Katie. Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut, has his own series of books (Jasper Dash and His Astounding Auto-Cycle) and Katie Mulligan is the star of the Horror Hollow series ...more
Susan P
Jun 17, 2008 Susan P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-fiction
Needed to read before I meet MT Anderson at the end of this month, but I actually thought it was kind of stupid (altho I won't tell that opinion to the author!). Captain Underpants fans would probably like it, but that's about it. A mad scientist is equipping whales with stilts and laser beam eyes, so they can walk on land and destroy the humans. Snore...
What an original, offbeat whirlwind of a book! It's funny, but it definitely keeps the reader off-balance with its matter-of-fact weirdness and breakneck pace. I was strongly reminded of Adam Rex's novel Cold Cereal, and also of The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface.
Joe Heaney
There's a convention of authors coming to the area soon and M.T. Anderson is one of the authors so I picked this up used for a quick read. Given this is a book written for children, I'm not the target audience but I could definitely see how 8-12 year olds would really get a kick out of Anderson's irreverant humor and penchant for breaking the 4th wall. As a fan of the sci-fi and adventure righting of yesteryear, the injection of pulp tropes and archetypes was enjoyable to me but I did wonder if ...more
How did I miss this wacky title from the brilliant M.T. Anderson? I don't use that B word lightly; M.T.A. is indeed brilliant. I've heard him speak at conferences, met him in person, read many of his decidedly more serious works (Feed, Octavia Nothing series) and he is an uber smart guy. This Whales on stilts story is just over the top silly, yet still engaging, readable, and has some nice tidbits for adults who happen to be reading it aloud to a child. I wonder if the Harcourt publisher was hur ...more
KidsFiction Teton County Library
TCL Call# J CD Book Anderson

Chris's Rating - 5 stars
Lily Gefelty, a shy 12 year-old who is more of a listener than a doer, accompanies her father to work one day. Observing that her father works in an abandoned warehouse full of scientists, armed goons and a boss who never goes anywhere without a bag over his head, Lily becomes suspicious that her dad's boss might be a mad scientist who is trying to take over the world. Despite her dad telling her that she is overreacting, Lily brings two friend
A screwball comic novel about Lily Gefelty who accompanies her father to his job on Career Day and suspects that his boss is implementing a sinister plot: a takeover of the world by whales. Boss Larry is a half-human, half-whale who conceals his appearance at the office with a grain sack. Everyone else at the company appears to see nothing amiss about Larry or the fact that they manufacture stilts for whales. It's up to Lily and her superhero friends Jasper Dash and Katie Mulligan to foil Larry' ...more
Robin Conley
Nov 24, 2014 Robin Conley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just a lot of fun. The characters are great and the plot is humorous. I really love the way that M.T. Anderson embraces his characters quirks and then exaggerates them to create humor. In fact, he really exaggerates all the aspects of the story -- the plot, the characters, the setting. It works really well to bring humor to the story and just make it fun to read. Based on other novels I've read of Anderson, he is just talented at making characters and settings that are interesting t ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Raina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j, sci-fi, funny, quirky-kids
Tongue-in-cheek metafiction for the upper-elementary set.

I took this out as part of my 2015 Summer Reading promotional visits to elementary schools in my school district.
My talk about this book started by asking the crowd of kids to raise their hand if they lived with an adult*. Then, I introduced the idea that many adults have "these things called 'jobs'" that they go to instead of school**. I then asked the kids to raise their hand if they'd ever been to the place where an adult in their hous
Becky B
When Lily goes with her Dad to work, she discovers that his boss is not a normal person. For one thing, he's blue. For another thing, he wears a sack over his head. He dumps brine over himself, and last of all, he says stuff about taking over the world. Lily's Dad is convinced the company he works for is a normal whale stilt production plant that is about to launch their product, but Lily is sure the whales are built on world domination. Since the adults just seem to blow her off, it seems like ...more
LPLD 5th grade science fiction book talk
“On Career Day Lily visited her dad’s work with him and discovered he worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the earth through destruction and desolation.”
One might extrapolate from this discovery that Lily’s father, too, is bent on world domination (or, at least, helping as much as he can) – but Lily’s father is completely ignorant NOT ONLY of his supervisor’s diabolical plans BUT their actual real-world implications? Let me go back to the book.
May 08, 2014 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book when I was in 6th grade, and thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever read. It was my first intro to any kind of novel that wasn't realistic fiction, and at that point my norm was older (but still amazing) stuff like Little Women, The Three Musketeers, etc. This book really changed my imagination and I checked it in and back out of the library so often I basically owned it. Thank heaven for books like this, and the librarians who recommend them- they made me who ...more
Like Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, this story is hilarious in its absurdity and crazy tangents. But unlike Flame Pits, it doesn't get dragged down by the absurdity and length. In fact, I almost thought it was too short (until I remembered my criticism of JD&TFPOD). It quickly moves from crisis to denouement to end. The story hangs together well - as well, that is, as any story about whales on stilts taking over the world. I liked that Lily was the brains behind this operation - ...more
Ofa Fotu
Oct 22, 2011 Ofa Fotu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420
This was such a fun and creative...strangely bazaar book. I don't know if I could have predicted anything that happened in it. I don't know who the narrator was but they were very active in including the readers in the narration- we never find out who it is. The narrator talks about his/her own adventures and, conversation style, will retreat into old, unconnected memories while he/she is telling the story of the Whales On Stilts. That could be a possible reason for teaching this book. It could ...more
Daniel Asay
A less serious play off the 1950's horror movie genre, the title pretty much says it all. When Lily Gefelty accompanies her father to work and meets Larry, the mysterious boss with a grain sack over his head and rubber gloves, she begins to unravel the company's secret. Using mind control antenna and hydraulic walking stilts to command an army of land-roving whales, Larry plans to take over the world. It's up to Lily and her famous friends Katie and Jasper to save the day.

I'll be honest with you
Becca Hay
May 13, 2010 Becca Hay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adolescent-lit
When Lily accompanies her father to work on career day, she meets his boss, Larry, who has blue hands, dumps a bucket of brine water over his head regularly, wears a grain sack over his head...oh ya, and is a whale-human hybrid (though that's a secret no body seems able to figure out but Lily). Lily, being the conniving, observant little girl, realizes this suspicious character, paired with the secret laboratory he runs and his admission of planning to take over the world, decides to put a stop ...more
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Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His picture books include Handel Who Knew What He Liked; Strange Mr. Satie; The Serpent Came to Gloucester; and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. He has written such young adult books as Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, The
More about M.T. Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Pals in Peril (6 books)
  • The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen (Pals in Peril, #2)
  • Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware (Pals in Peril #3)
  • Agent Q, or The Smell of Danger! (Pals in Peril #4)
  • Zombie Mommy (Pals in Peril, #5)
  • He Laughed with His Other Mouths (Pals in Peril, #6)

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“There are times when friendship feels like running down a hill together as fast as you can, jumping over things, spinning around, and you don't care where you're going, and you don't care where you've come from, because all that matters is speed, and the hands holding your hands.” 218 likes
“Lily told her about what had happened so far. (If you're interested, you can go back to the beginning of the book and read all the way through to this point again.)” 6 likes
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