Shadowy pictures of larger-than-life figures cast atmospheric gloom over this summary version of the classic.
Edwards leaves out most of the gory whaling bits—as well as Ahab’s talismanic doubloon and so many other details that what’s left is more a precis of the main plot points. It’s speckled with vague allusions (“Despite ominous warnings, Queequeg and I stayed committed to the Pequod”) and capped with a one-line climax: “Claiming more than just the harpoon boats, Moby Dick dashed the Pequod and claimed all her crew. All except one….” In Horsepool’s stylized paintings, semiabstract views reveal icy seas in which looming clouds, icebergs, and the whale look much alike. These alternate with scenes of monumental but misshapen human figures (Queequeg and Ahab both sport tiny pointed heads atop humongous bodies) that are often seen from behind and generally in dim lighting. Ishmael appears only at the end, looking more like he’s standing in knee-deep water than clinging to the coffin. The cast’s diverse origins draw a narrative mention, but aside from Queequeg and one crew member in a group scene, everyone in the art appears to be white.
Other recent illustrated versions outsail this superficial recasting. (Picture book. 10-12)