The Eye of the Whale

The Eye of the Whale

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by Jennifer O'Connell
     
 

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Multi-awarded book based on the actual interaction between a team of divers and the humpback whale they must free from trap lines before it's too late.

On a cool December morning near San Francisco, a distress call was radioed to shore by a local fisherman. He had discovered a humpback whale tangled in hundreds of yards of crab-trap lines, struggling to stay at the

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Overview

Multi-awarded book based on the actual interaction between a team of divers and the humpback whale they must free from trap lines before it's too late.

On a cool December morning near San Francisco, a distress call was radioed to shore by a local fisherman. He had discovered a humpback whale tangled in hundreds of yards of crab-trap lines, struggling to stay at the surface to breathe. A team of volunteers answered the call, and four divers risked their lives to rescue the enormous animal. What followed was a rare and remarkable demonstration of animal behavior. This celebrated story, beautifully depicted in Jennifer O'Connell's mesmerizing paintings, will make you wonder about animal emotions and the unique connections we can have with animals—even whales.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Based on a true event that occurred on December 11, 2005, author/illustrator, O'Connell, develops a richly illustrated picture book about the rescue of a whale in danger. When a distress call is received on shore, a team of divers board a boat in search of a whale trapped in a web of ropes. The divers know they must be cautious around the whale. One slap of her tail could kill them. They also know they must work quickly to cut the ropes as she is barely able to breathe. When the divers finally cut the last rope, the whale swims away. They wonder where she has gone. Suddenly they see her swimming toward them. The giant whale gives each diver a gentle nudge in gratitude. The limited text and enchanting pictures will leave young and old readers thrilled with the joyous ending, and in awe of the intelligence of whales and their ability to communicate. An account of the actual events of this rescue is included, as well as a website offering suggestions on how to use this book in the classroom. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 1–3—In a spare text, O'Connell describes the rescue of a humpback whale that was found tangled in lines from crab traps miles off the coast of San Francisco. The huge mammal, barely able to breathe, was spotted by a fisherman. He radioed a captain, who assembled a team from the Marine Mammal Center. They rushed to the scene to try to save the massive creature. What happened next provides a captivating ending to this unusual tale and will spark discussion of the whale's ability to experience and demonstrate emotions. O'Connell's attractive paintings-many of them full spreads, some with insets-show the rescue from above and below the ocean surface and the tiny size of the divers compared with that of the whale, which is shown from many perspectives. The final page offers additional information.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
With this story that amazes while it informs, readers cannot help but be touched by a singular event in which an ensnared humpback whale makes a profound connection with her rescuers. Off the coast of San Francisco in 2005, a fisherman radios an alert that there is a trapped whale caught in crab-trap lines. When a rescue boat is sent to investigate, it is clear that extreme measures must be taken to save her. Four divers risk their lives to swim up close in order to sever each of the lines cutting into the whale's skin. As the divers work, the whale's big eye watches them. Once free, the whale dives, begins circling around the divers and then seems to disappear. Diver "James is puzzled." In a dramatic page turn, readers can experience the same surprise as the diver: "With a jolt, James sees her heading straight for him!" This is just one instance where O'Connell expertly merges the art of storytelling with journalistic excellence in recounting this well-researched past event. The drama builds to the moment in which the huge whale gently gives "a little nudge" to every diver before swimming away. The painted illustrations portray the situation from various perspectives and are a strong complement to the gripping text. A whale of a tale for sure. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780884483359
Publisher:
Tilbury House Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
91,426
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

Dr. Frances Gulland
This is a rare and important story about humane efforts to help a free-swimming whale—with a happy ending. It will inspire readers of all ages to become stewards of the natural world. --Dr. Frances Gulland DVM, Senior Scientist, The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, California
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
This is a beautiful story, one of the most moving I have heard about, showing that a whale is capable of gratitude and can understand that some humans, at least, want to help whales, not harm them. The paintings and the story are simply enchanting. I don't believe it is possible to read this without tears, but good tears for a change! I highly recommend it to all children, who will understand its significance immediately! --Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep
Jane Goodall
This true story of courage and compassion is brought to life by stunning illustrations. You will be awed and humbled by the deep connections possible between humans and animals. And you will be inspired to do all you can to help protect whales. --Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

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Meet the Author

Jennifer O'Connell is the bestselling author and illustrator of the picture book, Ten Timid Ghosts. She is the author of It's Halloween Night! and the illustrator of A Garden of Whales, among others. A two-time recipient of the Christopher Award, Jennifer also creates illustrations for book covers and magazines. To research The Eye of the Whale, Jennifer traveled to San Francisco, where she met Captain Mick Menigoz and rode his rescue boat, Superfish, out into the Pacific Ocean to the area where the events in the book took place. This experience fueled her inspiration as she created the images and words of this extraordinary story. Jennifer lives with her husband, Kevin, in Bethesda, Maryland, and speaks frequently about her books and the bookmaking process.

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