SONGS IN THE SILENCE by Catherine Frey Murphy


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 Her little brother Josh has been burned in an accident, and Hallie is deeply troubled. She misses her parents, mostly at the hospital with Josh; she feels excluded (she's not quite 12, so can't join them) and suffers guilt because, frozen with horror, she watched while others rushed to Josh's aid. She's sure that if she can be with Josh it will help him--a sound hope since the two, who live on a small Maine island, are unusually close. Grieving, Hallie goes out in a neighbor's dinghy (she is implausibly inept at rowing), nearly drowns, but is saved by a whale, Melae, whose singing she somehow understands. Melae too is trying to save one of her kind, the ailing Globo, an effort hampered by curious people flocking to the scene and by well- meaning experts and Coast Guard personnel who try to separate the whales in the mistaken belief that Globo will surely ground himself but that Melae, on her own, will be safe. Though the fantasy is a bit contrived, Melae (a sort of consoling, otherworldly godmother) is intriguing and the parallels nicely reinforce the theme; Hallie's ultimate success in helping Globo find his way back to Melae and in getting together with Josh make a satisfying conclusion. A strong sense of place, deftly drawn characters, and an undercurrent of tenderness to humans and cetacean add up to a fine second novel by the author of Alice Dodd and the Spirit of Truth (1993). (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-767730-3
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1994