Mr Miniscule and the Whale



illustrated by

This rhyming adventure tells the story of Mr Miniscule, a teeny tiny explorer with a BIG dream who sets off on the vast ocean in search of a big blue whale, only to find a big blue island. Or could he be wrong?


Mr Miniscule and the Whale is a timeless children’s classic known and treasured by three generations of Poles.


The stunning illustrations and humorous story will appeal to both young and old.


This title is now available from all good bookstores in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Ireland.

Julian Tuwim (1894–1953) was one of Poland’s leading poets. He won fame not just for his adult verse but also for his rhymes for children, many of which are classics known to every Polish child. He also wrote satirical verse and loved word games, inventing palindromes (whole sentences that read the same forwards and backwards), lipograms (whole paragraphs that leave out a particular letter), and tautograms (sentences where every word starts with the same letter). Nobody knows if he ever set out to sea to see a whale.

Bohdan Butenko (born 1931) is one of Poland’s top illustrators, whose drawings appear in more than 200 children’s books. He is also famous for his animated cartoons – especially featuring Gucio the clumsy hippo and Cezar the sensible dog – as well as for his stage sets and television design. He has won many prizes, among them the 2012 Order of the Smile – a special medal awarded by children to adults who are particularly kind to them.


Book Island’s edition of Mr Miniscule and the Whale is so perfectly attuned to the current desire for wittily written, intelligently designed and aesthetically enriching literature it is destined to become treasured the world over.

Mr Miniscule and the Whale is actually a classic Polish book and that’s what I love about Book Island; they’re bringing us gorgeous and unknown (to those of use who don’t have any additional language skills!) books in English translation. (...) I’m seriously thinking of setting up a shelf just for displaying Book Island books.

In this English version, the rhyming text is beautifully accompanied by acclaimed Polish illustrator Bohdan Butenko's simple yet engaging illustrations in shades of blue and yellow.

Poetry has to be the hardest type of literary text to translate. Yet, the translated text here retains an effective structure and natural-sounding rhyming pattern. The text is lively and witty, and will be a treat for wannabe explorers. With an aura of old-fashioned adventures, this really is a charming picture book.

This is a real treat of a book from a publisher who is fast gaining a reputation for publishing and re-introducing the most fabulous stories.

Butenko's illustrations blend wonderfully with the verse styled narrative. They lend a wonderfully vintage feel to the picture book.

There are some books that posses that magic quality that enables them to span the years, remaining as contemporary and loved today as when they were first published: their finger remaining firmly on the zeitgeist pulse. These books are a rarity, but let us be clear: Mr Miniscule and the Whale is one such rarity.


Book information

199 x 300mm
Publishing date: 
February, 2014
Antonia Lloyd-Jones