Whale Watch: If You See A Whale by Julie Fogliano
IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, YOU WILL NEED A WINDOW,
AND AN OCEAN,
AND TIME FOR WAITING AND FOR LOOKING
AND TIME FOR WONDERING, "IS THAT A WHALE?"
And a boat and some oars might come in handy, and a dog to keep you company.
And lots of patience.... But most of all, you will need to focus.
In Julie Fogliano's latest, If You Want to See a Whale (Roaring Brook, 2013), a little red-haired seafarer sets out in his boat to spy a whale--which seems easier said than done. Other sights vie for his attention--pink roses blooming on the hillside, a policeman, a pelican posing on a piling, and what looks like a pirate ship putting into the port.
Clouds changing shape as they float over the ocean are intriguing, but there can't be a whale up there where they are! If you want to see a whale, you must concentrate on the ocean at all times. There might even be one right under the boat!
With the same sort of gentle text and carefully drafted illustrations that made their last collaboration, And Then It's Spring (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)) so notable, shipmates Julie Fogliano and Erin Steed put out to sea in this quiet adventure. Fogliano's dead-pan, straightforward text is drolly illustrated by artist Steed's humorous takes on her whale-spotting advice. When the narrative warns that you can't get too comfortable while watching for whales, Steed shows her little redhead bobbing sleepily over the ripples in an overstuffed yellow chair, and as the boy studiously keeps his gaze on the watery horizon, the clouds above form a whale, while the real whale swims beneath his boat.
Concentration and the skills of active daydreaming are strange thematic cargo here, but Fogliano's gracious text and Steed's lovely illustrations put this story out to sea in shipworthy fashion. As Booklist says in its starred review, "A gorgeous love song to the imagination. . . It’s breathtaking . . . Fans will be waiting."