The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Paperback(30th Anniversary Edition)

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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles was the second children’s novel ever written by Julie Andrews, the beloved star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Perfect for young readers who love whimsical stories about magic!

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals—the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, "oily" Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with "peace, love and a sense of fun"—apart from and forgotten by people.

But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland.

With the Professor's help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire.

The novel was originally published in 1974. This edition includes a foreword by Julie Andrews.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064403146
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/23/2003
Edition description: 30th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 45,224
Product dimensions: 7.56(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.63(d)
Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Julie Andrews Edwards is one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment. She is perhaps best known for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries. Ms. Edwards is the author of many favorite children's books, including Mandy, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, and the Little Bo series. She and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, an arts educator and theater professional, have coauthored over twenty books for young readers, including Simeon's Gift, The Great American Mousical, Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother & Child, and the recent New York Times bestsellers The Very Fairy Princess and Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. Emma is also the author of Raising Bookworms.

Read an Excerpt


It was a crisp, sunny October afternoon and Benjamin, Thomas and Melinda Potter were visiting the Bramblewood Zoo.

They hadn't particularly wanted to visit the zoo, but Mrs. Potter had been very firm about it.

"Daddy has been working extremely hard," she had said,"and I think he needs an afternoon of peace and quiet. Here's some money. I suggest you go to the zoo."

There was no arguing with Mrs. Potter in this mood. So the three children had dutifully taken the bus from the stop at the corner of their street and had ridden through the pretty university town of Bramblewood as far as the zoo.

Although it was the end of October and very cold, the sun was shining brightly from an unusually clear sky. Only a few clouds on the horizon gave a hint of possible rain. Late autumn leaves blew along the pavement and rolled in through the main gates of the zoo as if inviting the children to follow.

On this lovely Sunday the place was crowded with visitors and there were popcorn sellers, balloon vendors and a man pushing a yellow cart piled high with toys. Children yelled happily as they scampered to the rides and to the animal cages.

In spite of their early reluctance to venture out, Benjamin, Thomas and Lindy had to admit, now that they were there, that the zoo didn't seem a bad place to visit after all.

"I want to see the tigers," Tom announced.

"I want to see the donkeys and the ducks," countered Lindy.

Donkeys and ducks," Tom scoffed. "Anyone can see a donkey or a duck, and you don't have to go to the zoo for it. That's just a waste of time."

"I know, I know," Lindy replied. "I justfeel like seeing a donkey and a duck today. I don't know why."

"Ohl look--if we're going to spend the afternoon trailing around, looking at animals like that. . ."

"Well, we're not,"' Ben interrupted firmly. He was used to his younger brother and sister squabbling with each other. 'Were going to see the elephants first. Because I'm the oldest and I'm in charge. C'mon."

The children visited the elephants and then the lions and the tigers.. They slowly moved on to see llamas and leopards and rhinos and reindeer; crocodiles and hippopotamuses and brown bears and polar bears. They watched the performing seals and Lindy saw three ducks and twelve penguins, which made her very happy.

Tom suggested that they visit the aquarium. They wandered through the dim corridors whose only light came from the many illuminated tanks in which turtles, sharks, eels and other underwater creatures were to be seen. It was gloomy and damp inside. Lindy was very glad when Ben chose to go to the reptile house. But she clung tightly to his hand as she gazed at the cobras and rattlesnakes and a giant python.

"I'd love one of those for a pet," Tom said enthusiastically.

"Ugh! I think they're gross. Really gross," Lindy exclaimed.

"You just say that 'cause you're scared of them."

"No, I don't. They're not my favorite things. But I'm not scared."

"Then why are you sucking your thumb?"

"I like the taste."

"Cut it out, you two," said Ben. "What shall we do next?"

Lindy announced that she was tired, cold and extremely hungry.

The children bought a bag of delicious, sticky looking doughnuts and three cups of hot, sugary chocolate. Carefully, they carried the steaming mugs to a bench that caught the late afternoon sunshine and which was close to a fenced yard containing two large, disdainful-looking giraffes.

Lindy had no sooner sat down than one of the giraffes spotted the doughnut she had in her hand and immediately undulated towards her on spindly legs, looking as though his knobby knees would buckle beneath him at any moment. The animal lifted his long neck over the wire netting and brought his face to within inches of Lindy's--just as she was about to take a large mouthful of her doughnut.

The giraffe and the child gazed at each other with serious concentration for a moment. Then Lindy solemnly said, "No," and moved herself and her doughnut farther along the bench out of the giraffe's way.

"That's really an extraordinary animal," mused Ben as he watched. "Imagine being born with a long neck like that. Imagine being able to reach the tops of trees quite easily."

"I'd like that," said Tom. "You could see the world from up there."

"I like giraffes a lot." Lindy spoke with her mouth full.

"If you could have any animal out of the zoo, which one would you like to take home?" Ben suddenly asked.

"The python." Tom spoke without hesitation.

"Gross," said Lindy. "I'd have a penguin. What would you have, Ben?"

"Mm, I dunno." Ben thought about it as he sipped his hot chocolate. "I'd like something unusual. An orangutan, perhaps. Or an anteater. Maybe a gorilla."

"You'll excuse my butting in," said a voice immediately behind the children. "But if You're looking for something really unusual, have YOU ever considered a Whangdoodle?"

The children spun around.

Sitting on the grass behind them knees drawn up almost to his chin, was a small man. He was holding a rolled umbrella made of clear plastic.

"I beg your pardon, sir," Ben said, "did you say something?"

"Yes, I did. I said, have you ever considered a Whangdoodle?"

The little man got up slowly. He had a round cheerful face with bright blue, sparkling eyes, and the few hairs still growing on his balding head were long and grey and flying in all directions. He wore an old brown sports jacket and a blue-checked shirt with a purple, yellow-spotted scarf tied in a casual bow.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. Copyright © by Julie Edwards. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Last Of The Really Great Whangdoodles 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Julie Andrews truely has talent both on the screen and on paper! Her story of the Potter children's adventure into Whangadoodle land was quite the adventure! Kids may look at it and go Oh My gosh! Its so big! But it is worth every word and page. You wouldnt be able to skip one word nor one page. Its that good!
mkrock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I would love to be Lindy at the end was the best part for me Oh i wonder how happy the whangdoodle felt.
stunik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book from childhood. It is part Willy Wonka, a bit of Harry Potter (though it was written before Potter). It is one of Julie Andrews' (of singing/acting fame)first novels, along with Mandy.
alexmcdonald on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles was an amazing book of its era. I encourage all children through elementry school to read this. It is great because it has easy meanings which everyone gets and also a lot of deeper meanings which may be harder too.
spartyliblover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lindy, Ben and Tom meet a crazy professor who tells them about a creature called a Whangdoodle who lives in a place that can only be reached through imagination; the children and the professor set of on an adventure to find that last of the Whangdoodles. The characters are superbly developed and easy to picture as your friends, I would personally like to meet a Whiffle Bird. The plot is broken into three sections but each chapter has a mini cliff hanger to keep readers interested. The setting is meant to be imagined and the book has a lot of description to help readers create their own Whangdoodland. This would be an excellent book for a public library for upper elementary and early middle school readers.
Runa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is such a classic children's fantasy book! I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't get to read it as a kid, but I am glad that I found it later on. It seems like it would make a really great read-aloud to a group of students. As often seen in children's fiction, a lot of it is really convenient, parts of it are really predictable, but it all makes for a great story, and there are some great suspenseful bits along the way. There are a lot of smaller conflicts that quickly get resolved, under the umbrella conflict of finding the Whangdoodle, and then the greatest conflict of all that isn't revealed until near the end. A really cool part of this book is its exposition to vocabulary through the Professor's narration. I'm really glad we didn't get the cop out "it was all a figment of their imaginations/a dream" ending. I'm also really glad that in the end, it's a story about the Professor and the realization of his dream, rather than a focus on the kids, although they are still a big part of the story. There are parts of the book near the ending that do get a little preachy, but it's still a fantastic fantasy read for kids and their parents/teachers.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this when I was about eight years old and really liking it... Great for younger kids. Also read "Mandy" by the same author.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Professor Savant, world renowned geneticist, has moved into his temporary home near the Potter family. The children run into the Professor at the zoo and are invited to visit him. The Professor tells them of the creature called the Whangdoodle and how there is only one left in the world and he has gone back to Whangdoodleland, refusing to have anything to do with humans. The Professor has tried and has been to Whangdoodleland but he does not have enough imagination and here is where the children come in. With their combined imagination the four of them should have no trouble entering Whangdoodleland and finding the elusive Whangdoodle. Thus begins a strange journey in a strange land filled with strange creatures.I have such fond memories of reading this as a child. It may have been one the first real fantasy books I read as the the feelings for it are so strong. I must say it didn't quite live up to my remembrances, yet it is still a good story. Reminiscent of an E. Nesbit tale with the dynamics between the siblings this is a very fantastical tale. The 8yo enjoyed it immensely. Edwards is a good writer with a vivid imagination, this book inhabits a Wizard of Oz type of world and I think the book is best enjoyed by those who can dispense with reality and believe the unbelievable. The story is quite far-fetched and over-the-top in believability, but Edwards also has an underlying agenda of asking the reader to accept and embrace the reality of cloning in the future. I found that viewpoint a bit disturbing but it went over the 8yo's head so we didn't discuss it. Overall, a fun fantasy and one that has stood the test of time to become a classic.
sarbow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A delightful fantasy by singer and actress Julie Andrews, all about the power of imagination of belief. Its hard to find but worth the effort.
sparklegirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty good for an actress
colombe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My very favorite childhood chapter book! My 3rd grade teacher read it to me, and I will read it to my 3rd grade class. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
13 Year Old Boy. I loved this book! If your a teenager and into fiction novels then this book will blow your mind. Another Great Book to read after this is The Phantom Tollbooth by Justin Norton
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in Elementary and absolutely LOVED it. I had such a wonderful time stepping into the world of the Whangdoodles and imagining this fantasy world. It can be read by all ages and be excessively enjoyed, if you adored The Phantom Tollbooth, you will adore this as well.
This_Kid_Reviews_Books More than 1 year ago
Ben, Tom and Lindy didn’t know what to think of Professor Savant when they first met him. As they got to know him more and more, the kids find out he’s a really nice guy. The Professor teaches them about the Whangdoodle (a creature that is kind and beautiful) and how the Whangdoodle really exists and he is searching for it. The Professor also teaches the kids about life and to really “see it” and “hear it” and “smell and taste it”. The Professor and the children find the secret way to Whangdoodle Land only to find trouble waiting for them. They all work together to find the last Whangdoodle. THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME!!! Let me say it again… AWESOME! It was s story like the Chronicles of Narnia where I got very involved in it. The characters were very realistic and I liked every one of them. The plot of the book was fun and I LOVE the life lessons the Professor gives the kids. The story kept me turning the pages – I read the book in one day. Whangdoodleland (the world of the Whangdoodle) was unique and I really enjoyed reading about how the kids and Professor got through their adventure. There are a couple different cover versions for this book, but I think this one is my favorite. I loved everything about this book. **NOTE I was given a copy of this book as a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST book my class has ever read. We have been reading this book for years and past students still say it is their all time favorite !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my second graders and every year I get the same response when I finish- applause and cheering!!!!
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