When you make a really big mistake, it's hard to get it in perspective. No one knows this better than a child, who by virtue of less life experience is likely to feel completely swallowed by a mistake they've made.
So it is with the child in this book, charmingly written and illustrated by Ioana Hobai. Told in second person, so that it's easy for anyone to identify with it, the story shows how a mistake can weigh you down until you cannot even stand straight beneath it. As if that weren't enough, it swallows you whole. Here Hobai's ingenious imagination causes the burden you were bearing to turn into a whale, down whose throat you are tumbling!
This whale imagery serves well for a host of feelings: how a mistake doesn't listen to you when you tell it to leave you alone (you're crazily out of control in the whale's spouted water); how you feel it with you no matter what you do (there you are, far out at sea, stranded upon the whale's tail). And then you are flat out atop the whale's back, with the most devastating feeling of all: "I can never escape it. This is my life now."
But with this acknowledgment comes a recognition that even if you have to go along with your mistake, you can open your eyes to what's around you. Here Hobai brings in the book's marvelous surprise, for what you see is so perfect — even though it, too, harbors mistakes -- that you can reach another shore in which your mistake doesn't seem so big anymore.
Written for children 4 - 8 years old, this book addresses universal, ageless feelings with a life-giving, forgiving message. If we can forgive ourselves by seeing what we do in the context of the cosmos as a whole, we can surely forgive others, too — and thus begins a far better world.