Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale [NOOK Book]

Overview

All day, Whale swims through the ocean, wearing a poster advertising the big upcoming art exhibition. He visits the eel who wriggles abstract patterns in the sand, the squid who paints with ink, and the hammerhead shark who builds sculptures from salvage. Whale sees his friends’ confidence and creativity and wishes he could be an artist too, but he doesn’t know what to make and insists he’s too ungainly to create art. Then one day, with the unexpected help of some bioluminescent plankton, he discovers his own ...
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Overview

All day, Whale swims through the ocean, wearing a poster advertising the big upcoming art exhibition. He visits the eel who wriggles abstract patterns in the sand, the squid who paints with ink, and the hammerhead shark who builds sculptures from salvage. Whale sees his friends’ confidence and creativity and wishes he could be an artist too, but he doesn’t know what to make and insists he’s too ungainly to create art. Then one day, with the unexpected help of some bioluminescent plankton, he discovers his own distinct point of view and talent. From the award-winning author-illustrator of What Animals Really Like, hailed by School Library Journal as “sublime silliness,” comes another inspiring tale about defying expectation and finding the artist within.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/30/2013
Whale, who makes Eeyore look positively effervescent, has been hired to serve as a cetacean billboard calling for entries to “The Hugest Art Show in the Deep & Briny.” Everyone from Eel to Wrasse takes up the challenge with the avidity of RISD students on Red Bull (“I’ll use these corals as part of my living sculpture at the art show. The audience will love it!” exclaims Wrasse) while Whale looks on with envy: “I wish I could make something too, but I’m just in advertising.” What Whale needs is a muse, and he gets a bunch of them in the form of bioluminescent phytoplankton, who help him create a performance piece that becomes a sensation. At its core, Robinson’s (What Animals Really Like) story is a tried and true tale of a wallflower realizing his potential. But her understated, offbeat voice and visuals—a mashup of classicism and graphic novel sensibilities—makes this a standout: up-to-the-minute modern in its irreverence and offhandedness, yet timeless in its understanding of a character’s yearning. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Once upon a tide..." a whale sails by ocean creatures carrying the notice of a huge art show. As he passes the hammerhead shark, the eel and the wrasse, the octopus, cuttlefish, and giant squid, all are busy preparing their artwork for the show. Whale wishes he could make something too, but feels he has no talent. Encouraged by friendly plankton, the whale discovers the magic of bioluminescent phytoplankton and manages to create a show-stopper. All the sea creatures, created with watercolors and pencil, resemble those in nature but have added human characteristics as they work upon their individual creations. The whale has a believable personality as he considers what he cannot do and finally what he can. Humor is added with such touches as speech balloons and calling the show's curator Mr. Jackson Pollock. Whale's creation is called "Starry night," although no mention is made of the Van Gogh painting it resembles. The story should encourage young artists to get started. Note the contrasting jacket and cover, and the fish that swim across the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
K-Gr 5—A big art show is coming up and Whale laments his lack of talent. Unlike Squid, he has no ink to print with; unlike Eel, he cannot make lulling patterns. Thoughtfully designed in landscape, the story of the young artist unfolds, "Once upon a tide…." Whale, small and solo, is swimming under the surface of the sea, encompassing two pages painted in the most serene horizontal lines of watercolor-melded greens and blues. The painterly sensibility; the use of horizontal panel layouts across a spread; the cinematic close-up of the bioluminescent plankton reflected in Whale's eye; the nuanced use of pencil to add texture to sea and sky; and the glow of the deeply saturated palette all deepen characterization of the sea creatures and develop a sense of place. The horizon line itself plays a special role. It is a line only Whale can breach, where he finds his unique perspective. Speech bubbles and puns add a sense of levity, as do the campy creatures and their artwork, including the curator, "Mr. Jackson Pollock." When Whale emerges above the horizon line, "basking in the glow of the moon…and the starry night," he finds his true artistic gift: "Such a shame that the other sea creatures never get to see what I see." Children will embrace and understand the sincere, undervalued message of art as substantive and a way to "share one's world." This inspiring tale of artistic collaboration between the whale and bioluminescent plankton will be shared again and again.—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
In a calm and color-shifting ocean, a whale becomes an artist. At first, the sea looks almost empty, made of soft, horizontal stripes in greens and blues. A whale arrives, wearing a poster: "Call for entries! The hugest art show in the deep and briny. Curated by Mr. Jackson Pollock." A wrasse creates living sculpture with coral; a shark drapes fishing floats over an anchor. Whale sulks ("I wish I could make something too, but I'm just in advertising") until encouragement arrives from an unlikely source. Some plankton pipe up with support, undeterred by Whale's biologically sensible threat--"go away before I eat you!" Grumpy Whale swims away, inadvertently lighting up the plankton, who are bioluminescent; they glow when his tail swishes them. Now Whale has a medium; what's his subject? Bursting through the ocean's surface for air, he observes something his friends only ever see "through a dulling veil of water": the sky. His undersea plankton painting will be Starry Night (à la Van Gogh). Robinson's placid watercolor ocean alters shade on every page and horizontal panel, employing myriad blues and greens; her sharp contrasts between light and dark are beautiful. Her pencil drawings are friendly, though the octopus and squid are somewhat stuffed animal–like. At this art show in the deep, the deepest aspect is the conveyance of celestial views to an underwater audience. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613125229
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Fiona Robinson is the author-illustrator of What Animals Really Like, The Useful Moose: A Truthful, Moose-full Tale, and The 3-2-3 Detective Agency. Her work has been honored by the Royal Academy of Arts and has been featured in many gallery shows. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.
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