I live in an academic bubble into which very little pop culture penetrates. I guess a few years ago there was a movie called The Squid and the Whale? I have just learned of its existence. Disappointingly, it features no marine animals or underwater scenes (so obviously, I haven't actually watched it, and probably never will).

"Televison Without Pity" explains the problem:
We realize that the title is meant to refer to Jeff Daniels and Laura
Linney, who play intellectual parents whose relationship is
deteriorating. Locked in a constant struggle with each other for the
undivided love and attention of their children, they are certainly very
much like the model of the squid fighting the whale at the Museum of
Natural History. However, taken out of context, the title sounds like
one of Aesop's Fables, or possibly a sequel to Disney's The Fox and the Hound, about a baby squid and a baby whale who are best friends.
In fact, it's exactly like The Fox and the Hound. The aggressive relationship is unilateral in both cases: hounds hunt foxes, and whales hunt squid. How heartwarming would it be to see a story about a young whale who befriends a squid before either are old enough to realize the futility of their friendship?

Hmm. Actually, that reminds me why I never really liked The Fox and the Hound. It's less heartwarming and more tragic. Sure, the hound protects the fox from getting caught and killed, but then they both realize that they can't be friends anymore, and they go their separate ways. That is not a happy ending! That is just sad!

So I guess a literal Squid and the Whale story would not be so good. Plus, there are a couple of big biological problems with the scenario . . .

First, foxes and hounds live about the same length of time, but squid and whales have vastly different lifespans. A sperm whale can live up to 70 years, but a squid's lucky to get 2. So during the span of their friendship, the young whale would have to watch his squid friend grow up, age, and die. (Reminding me of another story that walks the line between heartwarming and tragic.)

Second, although young foxes and hounds are similar sizes, baby whales are several orders of magnitude larger than baby squid. At birth, sperm whale is 13 feet long (about a fifth the size of an adult) whereas a hatchling squid is less than a tenth of an inch long (one ten thousandth the size of an adult!). I'm not even sure that a whale eye has the resolving power to see a baby squid, much less communicate with it.

Considering these two comparisons, I'm scrapping The Squid and the Whale children's book idea in favor of a new one: What if I Were a Whale? What if I Were a Squid? Kids would learn how long they would take to grow up, and how big they would be when they did, if they grew and aged like each of these sea creatures.

Added bonus: kids would learn subjunctive!