If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano

9781596437319_p0_v2_s260x420Lynn:  So, I’m a mad fan of this duo – Fogliano and Stead!  It started last year with And Then It’s Spring which I loved with a passion and gave to every child I know.  I was lucky to get the galley for If You Want to See a Whale (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter 2013)  at Midwinter, read it immediately and have been waiting impatiently since then to write about it.

This has the same rich sparseness of their first book.  I know, that sounds like a contradiction of terms but it is not.  Both the line drawings and the text are deceptively simple at first glance but reveal imaginative treasures with a closer look.    Lots of white space, Fogliano’s  exquisitely chosen words and  Stead’s airy illustrations unite to create a sense of the wonders around us if we just take the time to look.

“If you want to see a whale

you will need a window

and an ocean

and time for waiting

and time for looking

and time for wondering “is that a whale?”

There is much to tempt the small boy and the dog away from looking only for a whale and that is not a bad thing.  Persistence is rewarded at the end in a heart-swelling reveal but this is truly a celebration of the splendid wealth available to all who take the time to look and to wonder.  Can you think of a better book to get us all ready for summer?  Here’s wishing all of you some unscheduled days to just enjoy the journey.

IMG_3193Cindy: It’s a beautiful day here in west Michigan, if cool, and my husband is putting in the dock. I’ve just rowed our row boat down the bayou we live on and I was grumpy about having to come inside to get my part of the blog post done. But now? NOW? I need to find a dog and head back out in the row boat to spend the rest of the afternoon looking for a whale. Fogliano’s story was just what I was in the mood to read and Stead’s illustrations are charming. I’m a fan of wood block art and this whole book just makes me smile.  I’m sure to get distracted, like the boy in the book, and take my eyes off the water to look at cloud shapes and smell the flowers but I’ve got a three day weekend stretching ahead and surely there’s time to find a whale in that…it can’t hurt to try.







About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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