Rhyming text introduces youngsters to a smattering of whales.
Unfortunately, it’s not particularly good rhyme, nor are the whales introduced with enough context to make the information meaningful to a toddler audience. “I might be a gray whale with barnacles on my chin / Or a sleek, slender fin whale. Think how fast I’d swim.” To these bloodless rhymes are paired equally anemic watercolor illustrations. The nature of whale coloration and their marine habitat combine for spreads that are dominated by grays and pale blues, the lack of contrast making for a singularly uncompelling visual experience. Weeds and other sea life add some mild pops of color, but they are so watery they don’t make much of an impression. In addition to the aforementioned gray and fin whales, Gill packs an impressive number of whale species in: minke, beluga, pilot, blue, beaked, orca, humpback, and—“Narwhals have tusks. Tusks might come in handy. / Right whales sail with their tails. Wouldn’t that be dandy?” Ouch.
The book’s heart is in the right place, but its execution serves neither subject nor audience even adequately. (Board book. 1-3)