This short, tactile picture book had me under its charm form page one. It is written in the form of letters (about which I am still romantic), from a little girl who believes she has found a whale in her garden pond. With great concern and sense, Emily writes to Greenpeace to seek the society’s advice on how she should look after her whale.
The essence of the humour in this story stems from Greenpeace’s replies, each one a little more adamant that there is absolutely “NO” possibility of a large sea mammal residing in a garden pond. Emily is completely undeterred and continues seeking advice out of concern for her whale, and her replies are just as hilarious. The beautiful illustrations capture the enchantment of childhood and let the reader in on the fact that Emily and her whale are enjoying time together!
Let me give you a taste. One of Greenpeace’s first attempts to convince Emily that she can’t have seen a whale in the pond, is to point out that they cannot survive in fresh water. Needless to say, their second reply exhorts Emily to desist from adding more salt to the pond for risk of parental displeasure. Emily, quite unconcerned, continues her queries. Children will adore opening up the sturdy little envelopes glued to every other page and reading Emily’s eloquent and enthralling questions on how to care for Arthur.
This is a magical little story about wildlife, ecology and even touches on loneliness, as many of the illustrations have Emily alone in her preoccupation, with family life hurrying on around her.
The lovely ending, which I shall not spoil, may require a kleenex!
For ages 4-7
# 93 in the There’s a Book Read to Me Picture Book Challenge.