Title: The STORM WHALE
Written and illustrated by: Benji Davies
Published by: Henry Holt and Company, LLC., 2013
Themes/Topics: whales, loneliness, father/son relationships
Suitable for ages: 3-7
Fiction, 32 pages
Noi lived with his dad and six cats by the sea.
An only child, a little boy named Noi, lives with his dad by the sea. Every day he watches his dad leave early for his work as a fisherman and while he does have his six cats, he is a little lonely. One morning after a night’s heavy storm, he spots a baby whale on the beach. Being a quick-thinking boy knows this wee whale won’t survive long out of water so he takes it home to the bathtub, where he keeps it very good company. That evening Noi doesn’t manage to keep his secret long, but his dad is not so much angry as worried for his son’s loneliness. This story has a very poignant ending!
Why I like this story:
Firstly, do not miss an anonymous poem on the page before the title page:
The wonder of the world, The beauty and the power, The shapes of things, Their colors, lights and shades– These I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.
How did I miss this gem last year? This is a warm, deep, kind story of the relationship between a (single) dad and his son. It is beautifully paced and heartfelt, rich with authentic lonely little boy feelings and gestures. The blue/black storm pages are beautiful contrasts to quieter moments on the beach and by the bathtub! This story creeps into your heart and tugs at it long after you have finished reading it. A quiet masterpiece, IMHO! I shall look out for more from this author/illustrator.
Lots of scope for child to adult discussion about feeling lonely and saying goodbye to something/someone loved.
Benji Davies website is here.
Fascinating Nerdy Book Club post on how THE STORM WHALE came to be.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.