The STORM WHALE – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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stormTitle: 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.

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28 Responses to The STORM WHALE – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I was looking forward to your review of the Storm Whale. Love the illlustration of the boy pulling a whale in a wagon — and put him in the tub. Of course, kids can do anything. But, I also like the father’s concern about his son’s loneliness.

  2. What a tender story and illustrations! Thanks for sharing this one, Joanna. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

  3. So odd – the book I read had a different cover. Totally fell for the art!!!

  4. Clarbojahn says:

    Good choice, Joanna.

    I worry about his lonliness as well. Sounds like a winner. 🙂

  5. Keila Dawson says:

    Amazing art and sounds like persistence is such a great message. And not just because he can be successful in pulling a whale, but because he tried! Can’t wait to read it. I want to know how it ends Joanna!

  6. Keila Dawson says:

    If only one could bottle that determination to overcome obstacles or whatever life throws at us. I would give it away for free!

  7. I am captivated by the opening line. The art seems a perfect match for the story, too. (How do art directors DO that?)

  8. rhythm says:

    Wow! This is the day for the Storm Whale! It’s everywhere! How have I missed this one? I love it already! I want it for my school bag!! Thanks Ms Marple!

  9. Catherine says:

    It sounds adorable. I too am nicely surised dad is concerned for the boy’s loneliness. I wonder if that is him taking on role of mum too.

  10. Wow. What an adorable book. I wanted to leave a quick comment before I leave to read the post on how the story came to be. Thanks.

  11. Erik - TKRB says:

    This sounds fabulous. I love how the whale is drawn. 🙂

  12. There aren’t many books where I immediately say “I want it!” as soon as I see the cover, but this is definitely one of them. Thanks for the post, Joanna!

  13. barb says:

    Sounds like a beautiful book. Glad you shared it:)

  14. Joanne Sher says:

    Oh does this EVER look sweet! GOTTA grab this one – at least from the library, if not the store. Thanks so much, Joanna!

  15. Gorgeous illustrations would have grabbed my eye and the text would have grabbed my heart. Thanks for sharing such a sweet one!

  16. I love the idea of “saving” a whale by taking it home and putting it in the bathtub! Thanks for the link to how the book came to be – what an interesting story.

  17. Pingback: Illustrator Interview – Benji Davies | Miss Marple's Musings

  18. Pingback: The Whale in My Swimming Pool – PPBF | Miss Marple's Musings

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