My Friend Whale by Simon James

Here I am again with another whale book by Simon James. This one was originally published in 1990, a year before Dear Greenpeace.

My friend Whale makes the biggest splash.

This picture book is a wonderful celebration of the blue whale, the ‘biggest and heaviest animal in the whole world’.

You may think, because he is so large, that he must be dangerous.

As the little boy swims with his friend Whale every night, he tells us everything he knows about him. We learn that Whale is very slow and graceful and has no teeth and only eats tiny fishy things ‘smaller than my little finger.’

My friend whale can hold his breath under the water for an hour but then he has to come up for air, just like me.

We learn how Whale communicates and has skin so sensitive he can feel the slightest touch. How similar he is to us and how different. One night, Whale does not return and the little boy wonders what has happened to him and is afraid he will never return.

What can have happened to my friend Whale?

This sad ending, a juxtaposition to the happiness and celebration of a little boys knowledge of the blue whale, is left for us to decide where Whale has gone. Perhaps Whale has migrated and will return next year or perhaps he has been hunted. At the end of the book there is the awful reality that millions of whales have been killed for their meat, bones and oil.

Why are whales still dying at the hands of humans?

This beautiful, poignant tale is a formidable introduction to the dangers human pose to animals. It is a good starting point to investigating habits and threats.

W for Whale is a celebration of books that support empathy for both animals and humans. A real whale, called Morgan, is the motivation behind this blog. Morgan, is a killer whale, kept in deplorable conditions in a Tenerife amusement park, please visit

Morgan, the Killer Whale, kept in deplorable conditions in Tenerife.

No child should be encouraged to visit animals in captivity for purposes of ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’.


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