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Whale in a Fishbowl

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  118 reviews
A moving, poetic story about a whale in captivity who longs for the ocean . . . because whales don’t belong in fishbowls, do they?

Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city–it’s the only home she’s ever known. Cars whizz around her and people hurry past; even the sun and moon circle above. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, We
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Schwartz & Wade
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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. SeussSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas AdamsFish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntSaving Fish from Drowning by Amy TanThe Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter
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379 books — 24 voters
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Picture Books of 2018
354 books — 103 voters

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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  517 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I discovered this book via the "New Children's Books" display at the wonderful Kinokuniya bookstore in New York. It's a bit hard to know what to make of it: it's a rather relentlessly earnest, somewhat discomfitingly somber story that seems to take as its central theme the inherent inhumanity of zoos -- a surprisingly heavy theme, given that the simple syntax implies the target audience is relatively young children. The central character, a large whale named Wednesday (a terrific, inspired name, ...more
Sara Grochowski
I think this one will be well loved when it publishes May 2018. A quiet book about belonging and yearning for something you cannot name. This one is special.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Whale Lovers / Anyone Who Dreams of Freedom in Some Far-Off Place
Shelves: picture-books
Wednesday the whale lived in a giant fishbowl in the center of the city, watching the world around her. Everything from the traffic to the stars seemed to circle around her, but despite her perceived position at the center of all things, she longed for the small bit of blue she could see off in the distance, when she jumped high into the air. Then one day a little girl told her she belonged in the sea, rather than a fishbowl. But what and where was the sea...?

A poetic, understated picture-book e
Edward Sullivan
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely, heartfelt, affecting story about a captive whale desiring freedom.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one reminded me of Japanese books for older audiences: that yearning and ache, with a tinge of sweetness.

I see it as a metaphor for kids who don't know who they are and what they are capable of. Sometimes you want something outside of your immediate world, but you might not know how to articulate it or how to get to it and even lose sight of it every once in a while, just like a whale in a fishbowl in the middle of a town square. You might try to break out of your skin and even hurt yourse
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wednesday the whale lived in a fishbowl. Secretly she longed for something, but she didn't know what. One day a visitor to the fishbowl told her she didn't belong in the bowl; Wednesday, the visitor told her, belonged in the sea.

A little tale of finding your proper place in the world.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
A whale in a fishbowl in the middle of a city having an existential crisis is such an interesting concept. What felt like a rushed, underdeveloped ending did not do justice to what came before.
A somewhat confusing and disjointed story but with an important theme and gorgeous illustrations.
Baby Bookworm
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is Whale In A Fishbowl by Troy Howell and Richard Jones, the sweet fable of a whale named Wednesday.

Wednesday is a whale, so named because she is at the center of everything. She lives in a giant fishbowl in a city center, surrounded by speeding cars and bustling crowds, all covered in grayish smog. She has rocks and plants and food, but it still doesn’t feel quit
Amanda Zirn Hudson
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story that gently teaches that animals should be in their natural habitats. Lovely artwork.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wednesday the whale lives in a giant fishbowl in the middle of the gray city. She is passed by traffic and visited by people who loved to watch her leap. Wednesday leaps to glimpse the sea, but doesn’t understand what she is seeing or why it calls to her. One smoggy day, she leaps higher than ever in order to see the blue, tips her bowl and is washed in the sea in a rush of water where she finds freedom and a friend. The blue of the sea is a bright point in muted paint illustrations. Wednesday s ...more
Chance Lee
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-it
A horror story about claustrophobia and feeling trapped

--- at least that's how I interpreted it.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
“You’re lovely... but you don’t belong in there.”
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Sometimes we know something is missing or wrong before we know how to fix the problem. It can require a leap of faith. This picture book has a beautiful message.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Wednesday was a whale who lives in an enormous fish bowl surrounded by a city filled with bustling people and cars. It was the only home she had ever known. If she jumped high enough though, she could see a tiny bit of blue far away. Whenever she glimpsed it, her heart would leap. She kept on leaping to see that blue in the distance and soon more people watched her, thinking that she was doing tricks. One day, a little girl visited Wednesday’s tank and told her that she didn’t belong in the fish ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A deeply heart stirring story, cleverly illustrated, that will resonate and 'stay with' every reader. Whale in a Fishbowl is destined to be on every shelf. ...more
Mary Lee
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's a metaphor here: being trapped, getting up the nerve to go for what we truly want, getting help from an outsider, risking everything to gain everything. ...more
Wednesday makes the best of her time spent in a large fishbowl in a bustling city. Although she's never really known the freedom of the open sea, when she leaps up into the air and catches a glimpse of it, something inside of her swells and is touched. She wants to see more and more of that blue water, and when a little girl named Piper tells her that she doesn't belong in that big bowl, she becomes even more confused and frustrated. Surrounded as she is by all the grayness that can constitute c ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Whale in a Fishbowl by Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones. PICTURE BOOK. Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House), 2018. $18. 9781524715182.



Wednesday the Whale lives in a fishbowl in the middle of a city. Its the only place she has ever known and while life is fine, she occasionally catches sight of a bit of blue when she leaps high out of her fishbowl. The blue draws her in a way she can't explain. With the encouragement
Just as is with her namesake, Wednesday the whale, is at the centre. She resides in a huge fishbowl, regularly topped up and fed by two men upon two large ladders as the busy, frantic world revolves around her - paying little attention to her when she is not performing. Stuck in the centre of an interchange, Wednesday feels the tug of a sliver of blue that calls to her on the horizon but does not understand why until a young girl meets her and tells her that she does not belong here...
Whale in a
Sharon Coffey
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dive into this heartfelt tale! The title says it all, almost. Wednesday, the whale is trapped inside a giant fishbowl in the city. It’s the only home she’s ever known. She feels there’s more to life than living in a fishbowl. Leaps of faith soon reveal a mesmerizing blue ocean, which ignites something inside her. The cherry on top, a blue-eyed little girl tells Wednesday, she belongs in the sea. We’ve all been there, yearning for something that seems just out of reach. Will Wednesday have the de ...more
Laura Giessler
This book kind of grew on me. Although initially, it seemed a bit disjointed, I appreciate that it is a metaphor that can be read on different levels--"Save the whales" and anti-animals-in-captivity, sure, but it can also prompt a lot of thought and discussion on life goals, dreams, obstacles, loneliness, freedom, being "stuck" in life. The name Wednesday for the whale is awesome, "because, like the day of the week, she was smack in the middle of everything"--in a fishbowl (rather than an aquari ...more
Erin Buhr
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book makes me think about every animal I've ever watched at the zoo or in an aquarium. I have forever mixed feelings about zoos and aquariums, but that's not really the point here...or maybe it is. This is the story of a whale, named Wednesday, that lives in a bowl in the middle of a city. She spies something blue and it awakens her heart and curiosity. It is a beautiful written story that is captured and expanding on with gentle illustrations. Together they make your heart swell. I closed ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A moving, poetic story about a whale in captivity who longs for the ocean . . . because whales don’t belong in fishbowls, do they?

Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city–it’s the only home she’s ever known. Cars whizz around her and people hurry past; even the sun and moon circle above. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, Wednesday can see it: a calm bit of blue off in the distance. When a girl in a paisley dress tells Wednesday “You belong in the
Juliana Lee
Beautiful story and haunting artwork! Wednesday was a whale who like the day of the week was in the middle of everything. She lived in a fishbowl in the middle of the city. It was the only home she knew. Wednesday loved to leap in the air and look far beyond the city to the blue. But one day a little girl came by who said she didn't belong in a fishbowl, she belonged in the sea. Not knowing what the sea was, Wednesday was sure he'd never get there and he stopped leaping. Eventually, Wednesday mi ...more
Riley Elliott
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
This book's illustrations were illustrated very nicely! I really liked how one of the pages flipped up when Wednesday was flying out of her fish bowl. It was something unique and it made the part really incredible. Even though the illustrations don't have a lot of color, the colors it does have really set the mood. The colors are lots of blues and darker colors. The mood is sad because Wednesday is trapped in a aquarium. I think the story itself is very sweet. It shows that even though aquariums ...more
Wednesday the Whale lives in a fishbowl in the middle of a large city. The fishbowl is all she's every known. Every once in a while she would leap and catch a glimpse of curious blue in the distance. She longed for that blue, but she didn't know why. When a young girl named Piper approached her one day and told her that she actually was a whale and didn't belong in a fishbowl but in the sea Wednesday became curious. She began to leap so often that people often stopped and cheered.

Finally one da
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The ILLUSTRATIONS are so evocative! They match the tone of the story so perfectly, with the grey tones contrasting against the blue. A whale is kept in a fish bowl in the middle of the city square. Every now and then she catches a glimpse of blue far beyond the city. One day a girl indicates to her that this isn't where she belongs, so she leaps out of the bowl and gets back to the ocean (in a feat of questionably believable proportions, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief a lot for the empo ...more
Read  Ribbet
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Stunning picture book with Richard Jones' illustrations that tells the story of a whale stuck in the middle (appropriately named Wednesday) of town in a big fishbowl. Occasional glimpses of something blue nearby and the advice of a young girl, lead Wednesday to leap as high as possible and escape the life she is stuck in. The high leap is cleverly formatted in the book. It is a beautiful story of the importance of setting new goals and working toward new ground when feeling a bit stuck. With tha ...more
Troy Howell writes about dear Wednesday, the whale, in a fishbowl, the only home she knew. But sometimes if she leaped high, she saw something intriguing, something blue. “Her heart leaped but she didn’t know why.” Along came a young Piper who actually wanted to talk. And the rest of the story shows a beautiful kind deed and an ending you don’t want to miss. Watercolor swirls the art by Richard Jones, with most of the focus on that fishbowl, a little bit on Piper and a marvelous fold-out page t ...more
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