The Eye of the Whale

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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: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 234,025
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 15, 2014

    Visually Pleasing, Moving Story

    I purchased this for my kids' school (grades PreK - 6) Library as I am one of two volunteer librarian helpers in the school. The book's illustrations are intense and create the sense of an underwater world where communication isn't through hearing. The story, however, left me wishing for a greater sense of interconnectivity between living creatures. I wanted a more heartfelt sense of the communication that occurred between the whale and humans and our responsibility for all living creatures. I felt that feeling far more through the final couple of pages (not part of the story pages) which outlines the factual events and the names of the divers involved. As a librarian, however, I think I can accompany the book so that those qualities are more effectively communicated. Older kids will enjoy the factual telling in the back of the book.

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