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Whales (The Lighthouse Family) Hardcover – April 1, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"In the blackness of the Black Sea,/ the whales are thinking today./ Thinking of those things/ that matter most to them:/ friends, family, supper./ A song they used to know." Using language that both anthropomorphizes and sentimentalizes the creatures of the sea, Rylant's text seems more overblown and portentous than thoughtful. She announces that whales "love their children," and that when baby whales "see their first sky [they] gasp/ at the loveliness of living." Like "angels appearing in the sky," she intones, "whales are proof of God." The text is best when describing the wonder human beings feel when observing whales, and least successful when Rylant skips indiscriminately between factual information and omniscient or self-consciously cute pronouncements ("Past Cape Farewell, they say good-bye..../ And under the Red Sea, their dreams are in color"). Rylant's acrylic illustrations, quaintly painted with natural sea sponges, are hazy, in the same naive style she used for Dog Heaven. Although a chart of whale shapes that repeats the book's illustrations in miniature is included, it provides nebulous anatomical information. Diehard Rylant fans may welcome this mawkish paean, but others will find it a whale of a disappointment. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?Rylant composes a lyrical prose poem to these regal creatures and brings it to life through her vivid paintings. She introduces readers to whales who "...are thinking about where they are going and how deep are the oceans of the world." Journeying through magical places such as Cape Farewell, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Red Sea (where whales dream in color), children are introduced to humpbacks, orcas, narwhals, grays, and blues, "...the largest life God ever made..." Using natural sea sponges and acrylic paint, Rylant provides a moving visual accompaniment to her lovely text. Her simple shapes capture the essence of these ocean giants as she highlights forms against rich backgrounds awash with color and texture. Although the author proclaims, "O, what they have seen, swimming from one pole to the other. What they have seen. There are not enough poems in the world to tell...", this poem is a fitting introduction to their wonder.?Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Lighthouse Family
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: The Blue Sky Press; First Printing edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590582852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590582858
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,383,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful for children who like to know facts about animals not just look at the pictures. The pictures are oil color pictures that are terrific, but the detail about all the types of whales is what kept our attention. My son is 4 and wants to read it constantly! The book is not long, but has a lyric quality to it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is written so beautifully it feels like spiritual poetry! I use it at school to teach my students how to switch gears and calm down when they are upset-taking a deep breath does not work for everyone, so giving them something (written so well that it's almost tangible to them) does wonders!
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By Sissy on July 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very happy with quality of book. Didn't think I would be able to buy since not in print anymore. Super service. Glad people care this much about books in today's world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every child should have a copy of this book! I got one for myself and one for my great-nieces. It is beautiful and thoughtful.
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