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by Skylaar Amann ; illustrated by Skylaar Amann

Pub Date: May 19th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-62414-943-6
Publisher: Page Street

A quiet young whale finds his own way to contribute to his pod’s song.

Grampa Whale sings to find food, and Mama Whale sings to keep the pod safe, but young humpback whale Lloyd’s song is just too quiet. While enjoying the peace of a kelp forest, Lloyd finds an unusual thing: a ukulele covered in “ancient, sea-tumbled glass,” with “storm-strong seaweed strings.” Amann’s debut picture book contains a sprinkling of these descriptive turns of phrase, but her illustrations are what really shine. Each page conveys the mood with a different kind of ocean light, such as dappled kelp forest, deep, dark blue depths, and filtered sunbeams. The sounds at the center of the narrative are also depicted visually: The whale song is rendered as floaty pink lines nostalgically reminiscent of a stereo equalizer, the noise of a ship is unpleasant yellow-green zigzags, and Lloyd’s ukulele produces sparkling gold confetti. Lloyd learns to play his whale song on the ukulele just in time to save his pod from noise pollution caused by the ship. Along with an introduction to the science of whale song and how noise pollution affects it, readers will learn that everyone can contribute in their own way. Though this lesson is familiar, it is notable and refreshing in that Lloyd does not uncover an innate special power but rather employs a tool to support him.

A sweet story buoyed by beautiful illustrations.

(further information, whale song musical notation, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)