The Whales' Song

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this haunting, evocative picture book, Lilly's grandmother tells her that, when she was young, she used to leave gifts for the whales--``a perfect shell. Or a beautiful stone. And if they liked you, the whales would take your gift and give you something in return.'' Lilly's great-uncle Frederick claims that the story is ``nothing but a silly old tale,'' that she shouldn't ``be dreaming her life away.'' But one morning, Lilly, believing her grandmother's claim that ``they were the most wondrous creatures you could ever imagine,'' drops a yellow flower into the water. `` `This is for you,' she called into the air,'' and later that night she sits waiting, like a mermaid on a rock, finally receiving a gift in return. Filling the night with their song, the whales call Lilly's name. Infused with the cadences of real speech, Sheldon's poetic text manages to overlay a homespun practicality with an ethereal, fairy-tale magic. The unique grandeur and beauty of these creatures, ``as peaceful as the moon,'' are compellingly interwoven throughout the narrative. Newcomer Blythe's paintings are extraordinary. The play of light and shadow in his cozy interiors is delicately balanced against stunningly realistic faces--Lilly's purity and innocence, her elders' splendidly craggy countenances. Rendered in unusual perspectives, these vibrant panoramas of the sea and of the whales leaping from the moonlit water possess a rare luminosity and beauty that should not be missed. Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Lilly's grandmother tells tales of singing whales who came from miles away in answer to a child's desire to see them dance across the waves. One night, Lilly hears the whales and watches breathlessly as they ``leaped and jumped and spun across the moon.'' Then, waking from what she thinks is a dream, she hears them call her name. Sheldon's brief story seems to be a celebration of the joys of fantasy and the belief in magical happenings. It is enriched by Blythe's wonderfully evocative paintings, which range from warm, realistic close-up portraits to dramatically moonlit seascapes. But beyond the pleasures of the dreamlike mood, the book has little substance. There is no deeper level of meaning, no foundation is offered for the idea that whales are magical, and certainly in the dolphinlike behavior of the whales there is no information on the actual habits and habitats of these wondrous creatures of the deep. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140559972
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.02 (w) x 11.38 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2005

    My favorite childrens book

    I read this book when i was in the first grade. I loved it so much! I made my mother read it every night before I went to bed. And I'm sure someday I'll read it to my children. It's a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations. I definitely reccomend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    when i was in the first grade

    This was my book i mean i have been looking for this book for years and know im 16 and you should get it come on! If a 16 year old wants this book? hahahaha!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2001

    This is a really great book

    This is a beautiful story about a little girl named 'Lily'. I have read it to many children ages 6-9 who loved the book. The illustrations are wonderful. I highly recommend this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2000

    The Whales Song-a cool book.

    This is a totally cool book. The illustrations are some of the best I (ever) have seen. When I firts read it I was all 'cool!.' Come on, you HAVE to read to read this book!!!

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