The largest living fish on the planet is feted with spare text and illustrations in blue, black and white.
The artwork is spectacular, all double-page spreads that appear to use pen and ink as well as airbrush to create a feeling of the oceanic world. In the beginning, just enough suspense is built to intrigue young readers. Over the time it takes to turn three pages, the text moves slowly: “In the full light of the ocean, / suddenly, an enormous shadow / looms….” The fourth spread completes the sentence with the words, “bringing along a crowd of friends.” The accompanying art begins with a striking pen-and-ink illustration of the sky seen from beneath the sea and moves to sketches and airbrushed images of a large mass moving in and to the gentle giant swimming along with scores of small fish. The rest of the book emphasizes the nonthreatening aspects of this animal that dines solely on plankton and swims amicably with divers. It seems a missed opportunity that a diver is shown swimming alongside the fish, when, according to the endnotes, people have successfully clung to its fins for a ride.
The overall imagery and poetic text combine to create a pleasing book on an unlikely topic for the youngest children. (Informational picture book. 3-8)