Symphony of Whales

( 1 )

Overview

Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out...This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue—a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music. ...
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Overview

Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out...This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue—a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music.

Young Glashka's dream of the singing of whales, accompanied by a special kind of music, leads to the rescue of thousands of whales stranded in a freezing Siberian bay.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
During the winter of 1984-1985, nearly 3,000 beluga whales were trapped in the Senyavina Strait of Siberia--and saved by the bravery and persistence of villagers and the crew of a passing icebreaker. Schuch, a musician, turns this episode into a picture book by casting a child as heroine. Glashka has always been able to hear music in her head, and the "old ones" of the village tell her she hears "the voice of Narna, the whale. Long has she been a friend to our people." Glashka uses this talent to find the trapped whales and then to discover the secret of saving them. The plotting and diction are a little trumped-up, but on balance the text is tender and moving, and debut illustrator Sylvada's heavy oil paintings readily transport readers to the bitter winter days of Siberia. Emphasizing the changing light and the textures of characters' clothing instead of individual expressions, the illustrations cast a mood that reinforces the sober issues of the text. Ages 6-10. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
During the winter of 1984-1985, nearly 3,000 beluga whales were trapped in Siberia-and saved by the bravery and persistence of villagers and the crew of a passing icebreaker. The author casts a child as heroine in what PW called a "tender and moving" story. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Gr 2-5-During the bitter winter of 1984-85, the people of the Chukchi Peninsula and the crew of the Russian icebreaker Moskva labored to save thousands of beluga whales trapped by encroaching ice in the Siberian Senyavina Strait. Schuch has taken this event and fleshed it out to include young Glashka, who can hear the voices of these animals in her visionary dreams. As the fearful creatures crowd away from the ship and its fractured path to freedom, it is Glashka who urges the crew to add human music to the whale calls they are broadcasting to reassure and entice the belugas, and to try again as folk music and rock and roll fail. Finally, a classical symphony for strings sounds a chorus that the animals join in, and singing, they follow the huge icebreaker out to the open sea. This fictionalized account is enriched by soft-edged oils in winter tones, picturing the laboring Chukchis, the white whales, the dark bulk of the Moskva, and the small determinedness that is Glashka. Team this inspiring work with Giles Whittell's more factual The Story of Three Whales (Gareth Stevens, 1988; o.p.), Dyan Sheldon's lyrical The Whales' Song (Dial, 1991), and Frances Weller's moving I Wonder If I'll See a Whale (Paperstar, 1998) and you'll have kids clamoring to go whale watching.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Riveting . . . Sylvada's paintings shimmer with northern light."—Smithsonian Magazine
"Beautifully conveys the idea of music as an intrinsic part of the natural world."—Booklist
"A truly beautiful story."—Family Life
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613566360
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 11.04 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER SYLVADA graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His first picture book, A Symphony of Whales, won the Christopher Medal and was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book and a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book. He lives in Cardiff, California.

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