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Whales on Stilts! (Pals in Peril #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,818 Ratings  ·  336 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.
Paperback, 224 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

Aug 26, 2011 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
Nov 12, 2007 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
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 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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sardonic kids who act older than they really are
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this during our trip to Minnesota and back at the request of my daughter. If you like silly and over-the-top satire for young adults this is pretty clever and well done. Might not be everyone's taste however ...
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 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 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 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 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 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.
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Admittedly, I have a wacky-odd sense of humor, but man, I haven't laughed this hard since... well, since I read Order of the Odd-Fish. Weirdly hilarious.
Kira Nerys
From the very first sentence, this book states "this is the world of this story and you're going to accept it!" I spent a few chapters incredulously wrapping my head around it. Speaking of, this is how the best friend Katie was introduced:
"Living in Horror Hollow, Katie had had lots of experience with zombies, werewolves, and flesh-eating viruses. She even had her own series of books about her adventures--the Horror Hollow series--and a fan club."
And I'd like to note my favorite chapter title:
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book because I found it on the shelves at the library at work, and it had only been checked out once. I'm looking for some under-read books to recommend to kids. I'm really glad that I picked it up because it was way more humor than I thought it would be.

Lily joins her dad for career day, which happens to be in an abandoned warehouse. He sees nothing wrong with the work that he's doing, but she starts to question everything. When she meets the boss of the company, she find
Lee Anne
A hilarious parody of old school children's literature, horror stories, parental cluelessness, the publishing industry, etc.

Lily is NOT expecting to discover that her dad works for an evil science laboratory during "take your kid to work" day. Worse, her dad seems clueless that his boss Larry is a half-whale, half-human hybrid intent on creating stilts for whales so that they can invade and destroy humanity with lasers.

It's up to Lily and her two best friends, Jasper Dash, "Boy Technonaut," an
Isabel K.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting read. It had a lot of humor and was interesting in the style it was written. On that note, I would have loved more descriptions (hence the four star rating), but otherwise it was pretty good. It is an easy read and would be a good book for elementary school students (I only read it because one of my friends forced me to so...)
Dec 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I must be too old (late 40s) to find this children's (age 10+?) story amusing and fun. It was just plain weird. Weird in a way that I would never give it to a child or recommend it to someone. Weird in a way that I'm going to have nightmares about whales. Weird in a way that I just didn't get it. I can't see this sense of humor hitting it's mark with a tween.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unremarkable, unrealistic, and boring, this book had few parts worth reading, and was entirely one of those books that, when you look at it, you think, are these people stupid? Because it's staring you right in the face.
Spoof of adventure stories --kids discover evil scientist is creating an army of whales on stilts to takeover the world and they must stop him with the most unnecessarily over-complicated plan in the history of complicated plans to foil world domination by evil scientists. ES/MS Adventure; Humor
Rachel Prince
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A little whacky, but it made me smile. I think this has to be pitched the right way to the right students.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun lighthearted read. Plenty of silliness and adventure.
Selena Mccracken
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! New, big words (for kids) and new-new words! Great tale of friendship and imagination. Highly recommended for early middle grade up.
Karen Morningstar
Sep 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too much for me. Funny at times but just not my kind of thing.
Wacky science fiction tale with engaging young characters. A quick read.
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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.” 227 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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