Whale in a Fishbowl by Troy Howell and illustrated by Richard Jones
A book about a whale in captivity who longs for the ocean, which she can see in the distance. The humans around her are oblivious to her suffering, except for one little girl, who tells her: “…you don’t belong in there. You belong in the sea.” This is a timely book with the recent Sea World controversy – their captive orca whales dying at an alarming rate and being confined in small spaces. I found the book to be really sad, but it does have an improbable happy ending – the whale leaps out of the tank and makes her way to the ocean riding on the waves from the overturned tank. Once in the ocean, she sings for the first time and also meets another whale. In real life, there is no escape for these animals unless humans realize their cruelty and set them free, but it makes the book more appropriate for children to have a happy ending while still teaching the important lesson that animals deserve to be free and don’t like captivity any better than a person would. This book can be a lesson to our children to make a difference for the better – to free the world’s captive animals and to make sure they have a home in the wild – keep the oceans clean, stop destroying the rain forests, stop clear cutting forests, address global climate change, curb human growth and expansion – in other words, share the earth with all the other creatures and respect the earth and all its life.