If I ever had to swim beside a whale, I would be very nervous. This book taught me that whales are actually very like humans (in mind, not in shape – that is if you take away the difference in SIZE!). Having read this book, I wouldn’t mind swimming beside a whale because I understand that we all make up the earth and that whales are part of it.
We meet Shiny, the Whale Child who is magically turned into a boy. He then goes on land to explain to a little girl, Alex about the ways of life. He teaches her about climate, pollution of the oceans and how humans can help.
For me, the best thing about the book were the illustrations. They were beyond words: wonderful, beautiful, …musical. They showed me what was really happening, the talking, the silences (try Alex looking thoughtful and alert on page 28). And I really liked that Bufflehead the duck could talk! One other thing I liked was that in Chapter 1 we learn about Shiny’s life, in Chapter 2 we learn about Alex’s life and in Chapter 3 these two main characters meet.
The way that Shiny (aka the Whale Child) was drawn confused me a little. He looked too much older than Alex. For instance, on page 51, he towers above Alex.
The settings for the story change very quickly—I found this a bit disconcerting. Alex lives in the Pacific Northwest near the sea, the perfect setting for a Whale Child to come ashore. But one minute, they are in a town with a horrible factory and the next, they are in the mountains with a mountain lion. I guess that’s the way things work in a magical novel.
At the start, I wondered why the authors had Alex’s mom have a dream that Shiny was coming. Shouldn’t it have been Alex who had that dream? And I’m glad that there weren’t too many adults—I love books which are just about kids.
Overall, this book was very enjoyable and very educational. I hope that gives an important message to everyone who reads it: save our planet! And I really hope there’s going to be a sequel.
The Whale Child by Keith Egawa and Chenoa Egawa. North Atlantic Books, 2020. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!