Peg and the Whale


32 pages
ISBN 0-00-225497-2
DDC jC813'.54




Illustrations by Terry Widener
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


Kenneth Oppel is best known for his young-adult novels, Sunwing (1999)
and Silverwing (1998), but he is no stranger to picture books. Peg and
the Whale should endure as one of his best for young children. Events
move quickly, since Peg is not one to do things by half measures. At age
seven she is already an experienced fisherman: “But she wanted more
than that. She wanted big, she wanted better, she wanted best. She
wanted to be the world’s best fisherman.”

Peg sets out to catch a whale. Undeterred by her Dad’s observation
that whales are mammals, not fish, she throws back a shark for being too
small. Eventually Peg catches her whale with a fishing rod, but is
forced to take refuge (like Jonah) in its stomach when it dives. Her
housekeeping in the whale’s stomach leads to “the darnedest
thing”—a growing fondness for the whale. Thanks to a homemade
rudder, she steers the whale to her father’s boat. At the end Peg is
ready to try something new—perhaps mountain climbing.

Terry Widener’s bold and fanciful illustrations match the mood of the
text and add greatly to the fun. Peg and the Whale is a marvelous romp,
a fantasy feast. Highly recommended.


Oppel, Kenneth., “Peg and the Whale,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,