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If You Want to See a Whale
by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead

Overview - If you want to see a whale, you will need to know what not to look at.

Pink roses, pelicans, possible pirates . . .

If you want to see a whale, you have to keep your eyes on the sea, and wait . . .

and wait . . . and wait . . .

In this quiet and beautiful picture book by Julie Fogliano and Erin E.  Read more...


 
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More About If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano; Erin E. Stead
 
 
 
Overview
If you want to see a whale, you will need to know what not to look at.

Pink roses, pelicans, possible pirates . . .

If you want to see a whale, you have to keep your eyes on the sea, and wait . . .

and wait . . . and wait . . .

In this quiet and beautiful picture book by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead, the team that created the "Boston Globe-Horn Book" Honor book "And Then It's Spring," a boy learns exactly what it takes to catch a glimpse of an elusive whale.

A Neal Porter Book


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781596437319
  • ISBN-10: 1596437316
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publish Date: May 2013
  • Page Count: 32
  • Reading Level: Ages 4-7


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - New Experience
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Animals - Marine Life
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Animals - Mammals

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-03-18
  • Reviewer: Staff

Fogliano and Stead team up again to examine the relationship between patience and reward, trading the gardening theme of And Then It’s Spring for a maritime setting. The text resembles a series of brief poems, each beginning with the phrase of the title: “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?’ ” Stead’s pencil and woodblock prints—as delicate, understated, and imaginative as ever—take exciting creative license with Fogliano’s expressive writing. When the author cautions against getting too comfortable (“because sleeping eyes can’t watch for whales”), a redheaded boy—the one seeking the whale—is seen leaning over a yellow armchair, peering down into the pale green sea in which it bobs. Gentle irony courses through the story: when Fogliano warns against being sidetracked by fragrant wild roses or the possibility of pirates in the harbor, it’s clear that those “distractions,” while certainly different than the split-second magic of spotting a whale, are treasures in themselves. Ages 2–6. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (May)

 
BookPage Reviews

Whale-watching for little ones

I have no doubt it’s hard to write what picture book author George Shannon, for one, calls “quiet picture books,” the ones that are contemplative and introspective. The challenge is to keep the pace of such stories compelling and to keep them from being, as Shannon writes, “lifeless.”

Cue poet and author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead. With last year’s And Then It’s Spring, they presented such a well-crafted, quiet book, it could be considered a case study in such endeavors. Now they’re back with If You Want to See a Whale, another exquisite story of waiting and wonder.

“[I]f you want to see a whale / you will need a window,” the book opens. As in their previous book, Fogliano gives readers what is essentially a poem, Stead’s challenge being to bring these inviting and abstract words to life with concrete details. In this case, she chooses a young boy—his dog and an ever-present bird as his companions. It is the boy who seeks the whale. He needs time, patience and focus. It’s hard when there are such things in this life as pink, sweet roses, clouds floating by and mysterious ships at sea with “possible pirates.” Fogliano writes with tenderness and humor (“pelicans who sit and stare can never be a whale”). She evokes the beauty and mystery of the boy’s world, capturing a child’s awe without being cloying.

Stead’s primarily pastel-colored illustrations, rendered via linoleum printing and pencil, are finely detailed and endear readers to the boy and his mission. Uncluttered and with ample white space on many spreads, they let this story breathe, fitting for a tale of the big and little wonders of life. Despite all the boy’s interruptions, there is a whale sighting in this book, and Stead renders it so majestically that I literally took in my breath when I turned the page. (And don’t forget to pull off the book’s jacket to see the whale on the cloth cover!)

Sparks fly when these two join forces. Quiet sparks. Here’s hoping they continue to collaborate.

 
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