K-Gr 3-As the midsummer sun melts the winter ice in the Arctic, Whale cavorts happily through the open sea. While his friend Fish watches from below, the majestic mammal leaps high into the air, landing ``slap'' in the middle of an ice floe. Other animals gradually arrive on the scene, and Walrus takes charge of the rescue effort. Sea birds, seals, polar bears, and dolphins push and shove, sweat and strain, but all to no avail. As the day grows brighter, the exhausted compatriots rest in the hot sun. Finally, with a huge ``crunch,'' the ice melts, plunging all of them into the sea. Presided over by the bossy, egotistical Walrus, the rescue attempts take on the frenzied mood of a Keystone Cops scene, building to the splashy crescendo. Bright paintings in sky and sea blue tones provide accurate depictions of the creatures while reflecting the humor in the text. Use this title to spark interest in Arctic wildlife, and reach for Dorothy H. Patent's All about Whales (1987) and Gail Gibbon's Whales (1991, both Holiday) to answer questions about breaching and other behavior.-Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library
Whale is doing what he loves best--swimming and leaping--when he plops firmly onto an ice floe and is unable to move. Walrus and all the other sea creatures make every effort to dislodge the distraught leviathan, but to no avail. Finally the slow warm-up of the day helps plunge Whale back into the sea--rescuers and all. Although the animals are drawn somewhat realistically, the faces are anthropomorphized to the max. This adds a comical touch that the youngest are sure to get a kick out of.