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Whales on Stilts! (Pals in Peril #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  1,725 Ratings  ·  320 Reviews
In Whales on Stilts, 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.
ebook, 208 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Beach Lane Books (first published 2005)
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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

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
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
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.
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.
Nov 26, 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'
Aug 22, 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
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.
Mar 19, 2017 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, scifi, fantasy, kindle
This is clearly a book for kids but it was a lot of fun. It reminded me that funny stories can also be fun instead of taking themselves so seriously.
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
Feb 12, 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
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
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
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.
Susan  Dunn
Jun 10, 2008 Susan Dunn 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.
3-4 grade boys might live this.
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
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
Allison Weiler
Title: Whales on Stilts (Pals in Peril #1)
Author: M.T. Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme(s): Science, Friendship, Adventure
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. 
Up until then life hadn't been very interesting for Lily.”
Brief Book Summary: Lily and her two friends are known for being brave and adventurous, and they are that and more in this novel. He
Nov 18, 2012 Candice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Genre: Modern Fantasy Junior Book

2. Summary: Lily, an average girl, figures out her father's boss' plot to take over the world and saves her town from destruction with the help from her two best friends, Jasper Dash and Katie Mulligan, who are known for their action-packed adventures.

3. Critique:
a) The greatest part of this book is the plot and the characters and situations that happen in the story.

b) The events in the story are imaginative while also being logical to the world where the st
Aug 05, 2009 Thomas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, juvenile, 2009
So, I’ve finished the first half of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow and Claw, comprising the first two books of The Book of the New Sun. It took me a while to get through it, and I figured that, before I started on book two, it might be a good idea to shift gears, and read something a bit more mindless, and much, much lighter. I needed to cleanse the palate, I suppose. A book about whales on stilts sounded like just what I needed.

The story is about Lily, a very average girl whose father works in an abandone
Becca Buckman
M.T. Anderson’s science fiction book Whales on Stilts! is a great example of why students should read stories to elaborate on their inventive imaginations! Lily, Katie and Jasper embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The three friends discover the secret plan of the half-whale, half-person boss of Lily’s father. Will Larry succeed with his plans to take over the world by placing whales on stilts, or will the three tough friends be able to stop this evasion to save the world?

a.) The creativity
Becca Hay
May 09, 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
Sara Thompson
Jul 06, 2011 Sara Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holding the book in my hand, I just wasn't sure it was for me. The cover seemed a little to science fiction for my taste and I struggled to get myself to open it. In laid a case of "don't judge a book by it's cover." Though the book seems science fictiony - the truth is it's rather funny. I chuckled several times. The premise is silly but then so are so many other stories that fall into this category.
Lily goes to work with her father one day to discover his boss is really a human whale hybrid an
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.
Previously read July 2005 - listened to audiobook Feb/Mar 2011

Whales on Stilts! was a Nancy Pearl recommendation, courtesy of NPR's Morning Edition. A very quick read; I finished it in about an hour between last night & this morning.

Lily, an average twelve-year old girl goes to work with her dad on Career Day. She starts to suspect something when they pull up to an abandoned warehouse (labeled as such) and pass through what looks like a mad scientist's lab. Her suspicions grow when she meet
Patrice Sartor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rain City
Jan 12, 2017 Rain City rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been fantastic since the day it came out, and will continue to be fantastic long after other series have been shredded and eaten by weeping knife-bearing librarians. I've often quietly enjoyed the copy I purchased years ago from a used book store, but the sequels were remarkably difficult to acquire locally, and I gave up.

Recently, I began reading Whales on Stilts aloud with my daughter (age 8). We had a glorious time with the voices, the sometimes subtle, sometimes over-the-top h
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
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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.” 224 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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