Baby Whale's Journey

Baby Whale's Journey

by Jonathan London, Jon Van Zyle
     
 

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Off the Pacific coast of Mexico, a whale is born. Swimming beside Mama Whale, and surrounded by a protective pod, Baby Whale begins to grow and learn. She dives in the deep dark through swirling galaxies of luminous fish. She encounters dangerous orcas and a giant squid. Soon Baby can leap and blow, and comes to know all the ways of the whales and the

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Overview

Off the Pacific coast of Mexico, a whale is born. Swimming beside Mama Whale, and surrounded by a protective pod, Baby Whale begins to grow and learn. She dives in the deep dark through swirling galaxies of luminous fish. She encounters dangerous orcas and a giant squid. Soon Baby can leap and blow, and comes to know all the ways of the whales and the sea.

Continuing the nature series that includes The Eyes of Gray Wolf, Condor's Egg and Honeypaw and Lightfoot, Jonathan London's simple, poetic prose captures the tenderness and drama in the life of the endangered sperm whale. Jon Van Zyle's dynamic illustrations reveal the grace and magnificence of these mighty mammals. An informative afterword and a reader's guide are included.

Editorial Reviews

National Scienc eachers Association
Baby Whale's Journey has been selected as one of the National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children 2000. The annotated list of selected trade books will be published in the March 2000 issue of Science and Children, the NCTA's journal of elementary educators. The publication reaches 23,500 members of the NCTA as well as librarians, teachers, administrators, and parents who traditionally request many copies of this issue.
Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
The third book by this author/illustrator pair poetically evokes the mating of two sperm whales, and the growth of Baby Whale, pod behavior, food gathering, encounter with prey (orcas, giant squid) and a sperm whale's life in the sea. However, pictures and text do not work together to illuminate the reader. For instance, given a picture of the whale's tale above water, what's the reader to make of the three undifferentiated terms, spy-hopping, lob-tailing, and breaching? Several pictures supposedly depict the baby nursing or "feasting" but the baby is not attached to its mother. An afterword provides a double page spread of information, a study guide leads adults to help readers consider the text, and a sidebar gives five meaty facts about sperm whales, but the information is not well-presented within the text. Noted Alaskan illustrator Jon Van Zyle has painted beautiful, bold acrylics which evoke the sea dramatically but ultimately do not provide the detail necessary to see this unique creature close-up. For a more factual presentation, see books by Seymour Simon, Bruce McMillan, or Gail Gibbons, or Judy Allen's which combines poetry and information more precisely.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A mother sperm whale mates, gives birth, and raises her baby as part of the pod. London introduces the animals' living and eating habits and sources of danger to both mother and offspring. In contrast to the brief, clipped informational texts of The Eyes of Gray Wolf (1993) and Honey Paw and Lightfoot (1995, both Chronicle), this book is written in a descriptive, almost poetic style that is less accessible to younger readers than earlier titles in the series. ("Sixteen moons pass,/and the one/who stayed behind-/becomes two./The new life/slips smoothly/from the warmth/of its mother's body/into the coolness/of the ocean.") More detailed information in a two-page afterword explains how the species became endangered and what is being done to ensure its survival, especially in the U.S. A two-page "Reader's Guide" offers topics for discussion and suggestions of related activities along with some facts about sperm whales. Van Zyle's realistic, double-page acrylic paintings clearly show the skin texture and size of the huge mammals and the vastness and depth of their ocean habitat. However, several pictures fail to illustrate the action of the text (e.g., the pod safeguarding the baby from a pod of orcas or the whales feasting on a giant squid). Although this title is somewhat less successful than others in the series, it still serves as a useful introduction to sperm whales.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811857611
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
02/08/2007
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jonathan London is the author of more than 70 books for children. He lives in Northern California.

Jon Van Zyle has illustrated many books for children. His art has garnered him numerous honors. He lives in Alaska.

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