A brother and sister meet a strange creature that helps them see the world in a new way.
Esme and George are siblings who argue a lot, but a suggestion by their caring grandfather that they go treasure hunting is about to change their relationship. He gives the two a spade and a metal detector, and they set out with their dog to start finding treasure. They haven’t been out long when the ground starts to shake—it’s not an earthquake, as they think. Instead, the two are lifted into the air on the back of a strange, huge animal. It’s the size of a whale and glows like a star, and the siblings nickname it “Skywhale.” Esme is able to telepathically communicate with it, but George, being an older teenager, can’t, so Esme relays details about the species to her brother. Skywhales have had a difficult relationship with humans, she learns, and they live in Iceland, where there’s no military to shoot at them as they fly through the air. Their Skywhale whisks them on a trip through the sky, where they see airplanes flying, meet people looking for UFOs, help a beached whale and soothe him until the tide comes in and he’s washed back out to sea. They also visit a crystal cave in Iceland, where there are hundreds of other skywhales, and make use of their treasure-hunting tools to find an old Viking treasure. But it’s not all harmless: On a visit to London, where they fly by Big Ben, fighter jets are deployed when the skywhale is spotted, and Esme and George are at risk. The story is an engaging one, as both kids are relatable—an older brother who thinks he’s a little bit cooler than his inquisitive younger sister. In the well-written story, Richards has a strong, descriptive style that’s easy to read: “One particular bracelet caught the light….[I]t was made of gold that still shone yellow in the sunlight. Esme picked it up to look at it. The gold had been engraved to make the bangle look like a snake that was swallowing its tail.” Readers will eagerly tag along on this adventurous ride.
An engaging story about kids who, through an outlandish animal, learn important lessons about understanding, empathy and relationships.