The Whales' Song (Picture Puffin Books)

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( 301 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780140559972: The Whales' Song (Picture Puffin Books)

Lilly listens to her grandmother's tales of whales and longs to hear the creatures' powerful songs for herself. This eloquent work celebrates the extraordinary relationship between a young girl and the whales that do eventually sing for her. Full color.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In this haunting, evocative picture book, Lilly's grandmother tells her that, when she was young, she used to leave gifts for the whales--"a perfect shell. Or a beautiful stone. And if they liked you, the whales would take your gift and give you something in return." Lilly's great-uncle Frederick claims that the story is "nothing but a silly old tale," that she shouldn't "be dreaming her life away." But one morning, Lilly, believing her grandmother's claim that "they were the most wondrous creatures you could ever imagine," drops a yellow flower into the water. " 'This is for you,' she called into the air," and later that night she sits waiting, like a mermaid on a rock, finally receiving a gift in return. Filling the night with their song, the whales call Lilly's name. Infused with the cadences of real speech, Sheldon's poetic text manages to overlay a homespun practicality with an ethereal, fairy-tale magic. The unique grandeur and beauty of these creatures, "as peaceful as the moon," are compellingly interwoven throughout the narrative. Newcomer Blythe's paintings are extraordinary. The play of light and shadow in his cozy interiors is delicately balanced against stunningly realistic faces--Lilly's purity and innocence, her elders' splendidly craggy countenances. Rendered in unusual perspectives, these vibrant panoramas of the sea and of the whales leaping from the moonlit water possess a rare luminosity and beauty that should not be missed. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Lilly's grandmother tells her about whales: ``...big as the hills...peaceful as the moon...wondrous...'' When they were more numerous, she used go to the pier to hear them sing--perhaps in response to her gifts: a perfect shell or stone. Curmudgeonly Great-uncle Frederick counters such fantasies: ``Whales were important for their meat, and for their...blubber.'' Still, Lilly dreams of whales, then throws them a single blossom from the pier. After a long day's wait, she is rewarded by seeing whales jump against the moon while ``their singing filled the night.'' In a spare, poetic narrative, Sheldon captures a child's wonder at these magnificent creatures, echoed, in a splendid debut, in Blythe's generously broad oil paintings. His whales- -viewed from near, unusual vantage points--are benignly heroic while, from dawn to moonlight, his sea and sky are beautifully observed; best are his lovely, perceptive portraits of the old woman's wise, lined face and Lilly's tousled curls and expressive eyes. Outstanding. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Sheldon, Dyan
Published by Puffin (1997)
ISBN 10: 0140559973 ISBN 13: 9780140559972
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