Waiting for the Whales

Waiting for the Whales

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by Sheryl McFarlane, Ron Lightburn
     
 

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In this timeless story set on the West Coast, an old man lives alone on a bluff overlooking the sea and tends his garden. And waits. Only when the whales return each year to the bay in front of his cottage is his loneliness eased. One day, his daughter and her baby return home to live with the old man, bringing a renewed sense of purpose to his life. As his

Overview

In this timeless story set on the West Coast, an old man lives alone on a bluff overlooking the sea and tends his garden. And waits. Only when the whales return each year to the bay in front of his cottage is his loneliness eased. One day, his daughter and her baby return home to live with the old man, bringing a renewed sense of purpose to his life. As his granddaughter grows, the old man passes on a wealth of knowledge and wisdom as well as his passion for the whales. And each year they wait together for the whales to return. Waiting for the Whales suggests that aging and death is only part of a greater cycle of rebirth and continuity.

Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book Centre Classic Canadian Reading
"This gentle and poignant tale features striking photorealist coloured-pencil artwork."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Already the winner of the Canadian National Book Award, this luminous picture book--a first effort for both collaborators--tells the simple story of an old man who lives alone in a house overlooking the sea. His life has assumed a cozy regularity to match the seasons: collecting firewood and clams in wintertime; planting his garden in the spring; and, in summer, watching his beloved orca whales swimming by. When his daughter comes to visit one spring with a new infant, the man has someone with whom to share his love of the natural world--especially the whales. Written in precisely cadenced prose, McFarlane's story about thecycles of life--while not a new theme--is so deftly handled that it becomes genuinely moving. (The old man dies, and his daughter comforts the child: ``Don't be sad, sweet girl. Your grandfather's spirit has gone to leap and swim with the whales.'') The meticulousness of Lightburn's pastel drawings perfectly complements this gentle scenario--his use of light and shade, for example, proves remarkable. One drawing in particular, of the old man and his granddaughter examining a small branch in the woods, serves as a compelling portrait of intergenerational love that sums up this book's joyous, life-affirming mood. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Across the generations, there is an uncommon connection; love, understanding and the whales. In this story of life cycles, a grandfather in his last years shares his love of the orcas with his granddaughter and a deep friendship develops. Richly colored pencil drawings express the poignancy of the story.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- In this quiet story, an old man lives simply, gardening, walking in the woods, and waiting for the whales that travel up and down the coast on which he lives. One spring, his daughter and her baby come to live with him. As the child grows, he shares with her his love of whales. After he dies, the girl and her mother carry on the same life, consoled by the thought that he is now with the whales in spirit. The text, although a bit too repetitive, reads smoothly. The lovely colored-pencil drawings, which have a sculptural, formal quality to them, beautifully capture the sense of waiting and stillness. Lightburn is especially skillful in his use of light and shadows, and in depicting mist and ocean spray. He also adds a nice touch with the hat that the grandfather usually wore, which the girl has on her head at the end. An impressive debut for a Canadian author and illustrator. --Kathleen Odean, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI
Canadian Literature
"A delicate and beautifully executed book."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780920501962
Publisher:
Orca Book Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/2002
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.12(d)
Lexile:
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

The old man watched the pod of orcas leap and breach and smack their tail flukes against the water. And as he stood on the bluff, his heart leapt with the whales below. It seemed to him that there was nothing more wonderful than these great mammals of the sea.

Meet the Author

Sheryl McFarlane is the author of several award-winning books for young readers. A former teacher, Sheryl lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. For more information, visit www.sherylmcfarlane.ca. Follow her on Twitter @sherylbooks.

Ron Lightburn's career as a children's book illustrator was launched with his Governor General's Award-winning artwork for Waiting for the Whales in 1991. Since then he has illustrated numerous other bestselling picture books and has become internationally renowned for his sensitive storytelling skills and range of illustration styles. For more information, visit www.thelightburns.com and follow him on Twitter @ronlightburn.

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Waiting for the Whales 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story about the love between a grandfather and his grandchild will touch the hearts of every reader. I had this book read to me in my college children's literature class. I enjoyed this book so much I tracked down a copy of this book, which at the time was out of print.