Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson

Novel: Whales on Stilts

Author: M.T. Anderson

Target Audience: 10 and up

Genre: Science Fiction (Honestly, I have no idea how to categorize this book! It’s adventure/fantasy/humor/parody/tribute to classic series of children’s literature…)

Publication Year: 2005

Setting: a small town in the USA called Pelt; contemporary or near future

A Favorite Quote: “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.”

My One Sentence Summary: After learning that her dad’s boss, Larry, is planning to take over the world using mind-controlled whales on stilts, it is up to quiet, shy Lily to save with the world…with a little help from her friends.

What I loved about this book: The story is fast-paced and fun. The chapters are scattered with entertaining illustrations, and the footnotes interspersed throughout the chapters are well-worth the reader’s perusal. My favorite illustrations and footnotes were those accompanying the fake advertisements for books about Lily’s friends, Jasper and Katie—each of whom has their own fictional series of adventure novels. In spite of the book’s frequent tongue-in-cheek humor, the story is also filled with reflective bits and reader’s see Lily’s character gain confidence as she organizes the campaign to stop Larry from destroying the world as we know.

Major themes: Longing for home/a place to fit in; Friendship and loyalty as a means to finding confidence in one’s own ability

Who should read this book: This story will especially appeal to reader’s with a well-developed sense of irony and an appreciation for satire or parody. Reader’s who enjoy a fast-paced novel, illustration, and bits of nonsense are likely to devour this book.


  1. Whales on Stilts
  2. The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen
  3. Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware
  4. Agent Q, or The Smell of Danger!
  5. Zombie Mommy
  6. He Laughed with His Other Mouths