Monday, November 2, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

This is a very unusual nonfiction book and an amazing one. Desmond's first book, Red Cat, Blue Cat was a delight and she doesn't disappoint in her second title.

The story begins with the deep blue endpapers, showing the faint outlines of whales drifting across them and a small, strange green submarine perhaps? The opening pages are stark white, with an author's note about the history of blue whale endangered status. The title page shows a small child reading the book and we turn the page and the story begins....a child is lying on their bed reading a book about whales. As he reads, he is transported into the book. When the book talks about how much the whales weigh, the little boy skips up a giant pile of hippos, demonstrating just how heavy the whale gets. The spread talking about the whale's eye shows a giant, dark blue background and, slowly coming into focus, the deep black of the eye at the center. Another spread shows a colorful swarm of krill, the whale's food. The little boy hefts gallons of milk as the book explains how much milk a whale calf drinks. The story ends as the little boy drifts into sleep over his book and into the deep blue sea as he dreams of whales.

The art and text are smoothly integrated into one lyrical whole with the collage and watercolor illustrations making the simple facts of the text memorable for the reader. It's dreamy and simple, but powerful.

Verdict: You absolutely have to get this for all your whale fans. It would make a great book for parents and librarians who are a little nervous about introducing nonfiction to storytime and also to spark children's imagination. Teachers will find it an inspiration for helping kids understand large numbers and creating similar projects on favorite animals. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781592701650; Published 2015 by Enchanted Lion; Borrowed from the library

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