Begin primary graders' search for cetacean information with Gail Gibbons' Whales. In her distinctive straightforward style, Ms. Gibbons introduces young reader/researchers to whale families and features, from their wolf-like ancestor, the mesonychid, to the currently endangered, 100-foot-long, blue behemoth. The author/artist's watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings clearly delineate each of the more than a dozen species she's identified.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Illustrated in bright, clear watercolors accented with pastels, this picture-book introduction could be used by beginning readers or as a read-aloud. The text is excellent, beginning with the fact that whales are air-breathing, warm-blooded mammals, and then outlining their variation in size and evolutionary history. Gibbons describes the two groups of whales--toothed and baleen--delineating their differences not only in physiology but also in behavior. Representative members of each group are pictured and given a one-or-two line description. Each drawing is labeled, and a helpful pronunciation guide accompanies difficult or unfamiliar words. Some of the illustrations, however, are overly cute and personified, with full, almost pouty, lower lips and facial expressions. The grinning belugas swimming around the blue whale are a little disconcerting. A one-page section called ``Whale Tales'' presents such factual tidbits as ``A blue whale eats about 4,400 pounds of krill a day'' and ``A sperm whale can dive down more than a half mile.'' An attractive additional purchase. --Frances E. Millhouser, Reston Regional Library, VA