342M: Children’s Book – Whale who changes color (Solved!)

I’m racking my brain to remember a favorite childhood book. The premise of the story is a whale who is traveling down a river in the jungle (I think it’s a jungle?) who meets other animals along the way and he is sad that he is not colorful like they are. The other animals help him become colorful by rubbing different colored plants on him. I vaguely recall the cover of the book, but I do remember that it was rectangular in shape. I was born in 1979 and I don’t think this book was published much before or after that. Maybe 1987 at the latest? Does anyone recall coming across this book?


3 thoughts on “342M: Children’s Book – Whale who changes color (Solved!)

  1. Could it have been one of the Elmer the Elephant books? You can find a lot of cover images under “Books” at their website.


    There are dozens of them, and at least one features whales (Elmer and the Whales). Although I don’t remember the precise scenario that you mention coming up in that book, there are frequent books where the animals, especially the elephants, change their colour by painting themselves, and the jungly setting is right.

  2. Pretty sure this is your book. It’s more than just a whale but too many other details fit for it not to be. The The Animals Who Changed Their Colors. Pascale Allamand. English translation Elizabeth Watson Taylor. Lothrop, Lee & Shephard (1979).
    The polar bear, whale, tortoise, and two crocodiles try to imitate the parrot’s beautiful colors, only to discover how impractical they are. The cover features the whale.

    The book opens with a polar bear who sees a rainbow and wishes he could be colourful. He talks to his friend the whale and they decide to set of an adventure to find the land with colourful animals. Crocodiles and a tortoise join them along the way. They get to the Amazon and ask a beautiful parrot how he got his colours. Then they rub all try different things to change their colours and are feeling quite pleased until the parrot points out that their colours are what keeps them from danger in the own countries. So they wash themselves off and go back home.

    • Yes!!!!! Oh my gosh! I think I was stuck on the whale because I could remember that part of the cover. Thank you so much, you’re my hero!!!

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