IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE by Julie Fogliano
Kirkus Star

IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 6
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Fogliano and Stead (And Then It’s Spring, 2012) produce another tender, timid story about a boy, his animal friends (a basset hound and a bird) and practicing patience.

Whale watching requires lots of resolve to avoid distractions like birds, roses, pirate ships, clouds, pelicans and so on. Fogliano’s exhaustive accounting of what not to notice artfully communicates the impossibility of unflagging focus. Her skeined advice unreels in a vivid, looping poem, while Stead’s soft, accompanying artwork settles into subdued, simple compositions. Linoleum printing offers oceanic, undulating blues and greens, while pencil drawings bring the redheaded boy’s freckles and his hound’s drooping skin into focus. Stunning specificity surfaces in the poem’s off-kilter phrasing (an inchworm’s “just nibble scoot” across a leaf). The drifting verse floats and coalesces like the clouds that threaten to divert the boy from whale watching. When read aloud, it charms like an incantation. The poem’s unresolved ellipses at the conclusion suggest an unending whale hunt, but Stead’s final two images silently deliver what we’ve been waiting for. The whale, huge and hidden, floats beneath the unknowing child’s tiny vessel and then twists its mass, pulling its head completely out of the water.

The boy, his dog and bird rear back in wonder; readers will gape at the two enormous, whale-sized talents at work in this transfixing picture book. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59643-731-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2013




BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2013 FOR THE YOUNGEST CHILDREN:

ChildrenBUILDING OUR HOUSE by Jonathan Bean
by Jonathan Bean
ChildrenONE GORILLA by Anthony Browne
by Anthony Browne
ChildrenGLOBAL BABY GIRLS by Global Fund for Children
by Global Fund for Children
ChildrenLITTLE NAOMI, LITTLE CHICK by Avirama Golan
by Avirama Golan

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE TALE OF KITTY-IN-BOOTS
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for LOVE WARRIOR
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY JULIE FOGLIANO

ChildrenOLD DOG BABY BABY by Julie Fogliano
by Julie Fogliano
ChildrenWHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano
by Julie Fogliano

MORE BY ERIN E. STEAD

ChildrenTHE UNCORKER OF OCEAN BOTTLES by Michelle Cuevas
by Michelle Cuevas
ChildrenLENNY & LUCY by Philip C. Stead
by Philip C. Stead

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenYOU BELONG HERE by M.H. Clark
by M.H. Clark
ChildrenWANDERING WHALE SHARKS by Susumu Shingu
by Susumu Shingu
ChildrenTHE ADVENTURES OF BLACK DOG by Tiffany  Schmidt
by Tiffany Schmidt