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Friday, September 30, 2016

I Won A What? Words by Audrey Vernick and pictures by Robert Neubecker. Alfred A Knopf,.Random House. 2016. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"I won a whale!
"This is impossible,"
Mom says.
"It's impractical,"
Dad says.
"But you promised,"
I say.
My parents are practical."

While being practical, his parents are also true to their word, and 'very, very fair'. So, when the boy narrator wins that whale at the local fair, they agree to give it a try and see how it goes. Nuncio makes the trip aboard a many wheeled cart, and makes himself at home in the family's swimming pool (which has been filled with salt water).

The two get along famously, sharing conversation while Nuncio fills up on mounds of krill and assorted sea creatures. Nuncio sings with gusto, and terribly. He's great on a trip to the ocean, providing adventure for the family as he hauls them through the water in their small boat. Mom and Dad are not as thrilled as their son is. But, pool cleaning? It is a tough and complicated task. Only when his parents begin to have reservations about keeping Nuncio does the young owner point to the many benefits of keeping him around ... he can help with the garden and car washing. It's enough to change minds about this new pet.

A final observation leads to a wonderful surprise ending that will thrill readers who want Nuncio to remain part of the family. There are moments when laughter seems the only response and others that warm hearts. Robert Nuebecker's illustrations, created using an Apple computer and a #2 pencil, are sure to please young readers with their bright colors and expressive characters, a solid match to the humor of this story.

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