Whales To See The is a marine sightseeing adventure of the same type as the same author's better-known novel of teenaged rebellion, Bless the Beasts & Children, was. If you liked Bless the Beasts, about Arizona's annual buffalo hunt, you'll like this grey whale migration story, too, aimed at slightly younger readers. Whales To See The is also one of the first books of fiction for teens written about autistic kids and teenagers with special ...
Whales To See The is a marine sightseeing adventure of the same type as the same author's better-known novel of teenaged rebellion, Bless the Beasts & Children, was. If you liked Bless the Beasts, about Arizona's annual buffalo hunt, you'll like this grey whale migration story, too, aimed at slightly younger readers. Whales To See The is also one of the first books of fiction for teens written about autistic kids and teenagers with special needs in normal schools.
When Dee and John and the other "special" students in their small class learn that they may go out on a boat to watch the semi-annual whale migration off the California coast, they are nearly beside themselves with excitement. But their excitement, if they can't control it, may be the one thing that prevents them from being allowed to go. For Dee Dee and John and their classmates are neurologically disturbed children who have been brain-damaged or born with some motor dysfunction. While they suffer emotionally from their disabilities, intellectually they are as capable as any other kids their age.
Despite forecasts of poor weather, Miss Fishes' class goes out on the big sightseeing boat, The Protector, from San Diego, along with another class--one of "normal" children. At first, the normal kids are caually cruel to the disturbed ones, until bad weather makes them all frightened and seasick; near disaster, followed by the sudden appearance of a pod of grey whales, brings about a suspenseful and satisfying denouement.
"I'm afraid the title of this book may be confusing to young readers, which would be a shame since the book itself is exciting and readable...The Swarthouts handle their characters with a fine sensitivity, but what they do even better is to present prejudice as, I think, it really is. They show prejudice at its cruelest, and they do this from several viewpoints. The book has much to recommend it--immediacy, originality, humor and, in the passages involving the whales, great beauty."
- none given none given
"In spite of the authors' last minute rush for a sunny close, this cheerfully hortatory tale about a day's whale-watching excursion off California by a class of neurologically handicapped children makes its points with humor and warmth....The Swarthouts manage to incorporate the tensions typical of the varied disabilities and a common sense of alienation into the special personalities of John and Dee-Dee. Even with the continuous subcutaneous preachments, it's an entertaining outing."
Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout have written 6 books for teenagers. Whales To See The introduces students with dyslexia, motor impairment, and neurological problems, and the prejudice normal grade school students sometimes show toward these "special" kids. By himself, Glendon wrote 20-odd novels, 8 of which were made into motion pictures, with others optioned for films. Among them are Bless the Beasts & Children, featuring an animal survival story somewhat similiar to Whales To See The, and The Shootist, which became a Western classic and John Wayne's final film. More about the writing Swarthout family on their literary website, www.glendonswarthout.com, including film trailers and movie stills.