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Big Blue Whale: Read and Wonder Paperback – May 1, 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3. Small human figures make occasional comic appearances in the pictures, but this handsome slim volume is an informative introduction to the life of "the biggest creature that has ever lived on Earth." In an effective opening double-page scene, a young man and woman reach up toward an elephant and a giraffe, all of them standing next to the tail end of the whale, demonstrating its enormous size. Davies offers simple, lively descriptions of the blue whale's body, eating habits, child care, migration, and means of communication. "Yet, the blue whale may not be as lonely as it seems. Because sometimes it makes a hum?a hum so loud and so low that it can travel for thousands of miles through the seas to reach other blue whales." Maland's cross-hatched pen-and-ink drawings, washed in soft tones of blue, gray, aqua, and orange, sometimes appear as smaller, blocked scenes, but more often they fill the double-page spreads with bits of caption gracefully curving around related picture elements. A simple index appears at the front of the book, doubling as a table of contents. Some libraries may assign this to the picture-book shelves, where it will be read as a true-life story, but it will serve equally well as nonfiction. It's a pleasing choice for reading aloud or for classroom use.?Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Conversational text and soft, crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations ebb and flow in a fluid look at the largest mammal ever to inhabit the earth. Invoking the senses, Davies describes the blue whale's physical attributes in irresistible, crystalline terms. Its skin is ``springy and smooth like a hard-boiled egg, and it's as slippery as wet soap.'' The enormity of the blue whale comes into focus in the illustrations that place it next to a giraffe and an elephant, bringing it into the everyday realm of children. The scale of this leviathan becomes even clearer when Davies notes that its eyes are the size of teacups and its ears are no larger than the end of a pencil. She covers its yearly migration, and its diet of 30 million tiny krill in just a day. Undulating bold text provides auxiliary facts that complement the main story. Effective use of shrinking and expanding typeface and the inclusion of two human observers accentuate the proportional vastness of both the creature and its ocean. This unassuming book is teeming with new discoveries upon each rereading. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Read and Wonder
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 4.1.2001 edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763610801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763610807
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm a whale researcher who has spent much of the last 12 years studying blue whales in the North Pacific. I'm also a mom who loves children's literature. Rarely do I see a book that is so accurate factually while it is captivating and magical! The illustrations are beautiful. I highly recommend it to anyone who has children who are facinated by whales.
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Format: Paperback
A wonderfully succinct overview of the blue whale and it's habits.
The clear, sweet prose makes delivery of the content easy, and the very fine, soft illustrations demand repeated veiwing. My Preschool and Kindergarten ESL students found it highly engaging.
If there's a better science and read-aloud book around I'd really like to know about it. TEN stars.
Follow this book up with the superb "Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?" by Robert E. Wells. Wells' book uses the whales' size as a starting point for exploring the size of the universe and other very big things (the second step involves putting a hundred blue whales in a really big jar). Read my review of Wells' book if you like.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a delight to read out loud to children, the illutrations are excellent and the information that is given is also educational. I would reccomend this book for lower primary use, it could even be used for middle primary use to start of a unit of work on Whales. It is also excellent for just reading to your children at home, or as independant reading material.
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Format: Paperback
We did not purchase this from Amazon, we borrowed it from the library.

Delightful and detailed large crosshatching colored pen and ink illustrations. It is of note that this is not a storybook - but informational in nature. There are actually two sets of complementary facts being provided simultaneously. While this is an interesting feature throughout the book, there were a few times when it actually disrupted the flow of thought. Facts about blue whales are presented in specific measurements (feet, tons, counts, etc.) as well as relative terms (larger than an elephant, eyes the size of the end of a pencil) and with detailed graphics. We learned interesting facts about migration, birth, nutrition, and communication.

The text was quite extensive and was enjoyed more by our 6-year-old than our 4-year-old. However, the pictures were enough to keep the younger's attention throughout.
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Format: Paperback
My son chose blue whales for a school report, and this book was his best source. Excellent illustrations and a large book format capture a child's attention. This is a very READABLE science book, and it's so interesting that they may read it more than once.

Plenty of details throughout the book, and an excellent description of how blue whales feed with their baleen. This book also has the best explanation of blue whale migration patterns out of all the whale books we used.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although it falls in the "picture book" catagory, the art work is suitable for an older child and it offers so much interesting information about blue whales it is perfect for a student in 4th or 5th grade. My pre-teen granddaughter loved the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my son who loves Whales, and all things ocean. The book does a great job of illustrating differences in size between various animals and describing basic whale physiology and behavior.

The illustrations are nice and should hold the attention of anyone 3+ years old. As others have mentioned, this book is excellent paired with "Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?" Wells of Knowledge book.
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