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Thursday, February 9, 2017

the whale, by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow. templar books, Candlewick Press, Random House. 2015. $24.00 ages 5 and up

"Giant Whale or Giant Hoax?

Fifty years ago today, the mythical Great Spotted Whale was allegedly sighted swimming close to these shores. But was it all a big hoax? No one knows for sure. It's time to find out if this creature exists."

It's long been a legend in their harbor town ... A Great Spotted Whale swims there! In the opening spread, we see a young boy with a headset and recording equipment looking out to sea, while below that we see a young girl, obviously intent on photographing a model of the legendary creature. A poster, and a front page headline story, explain the premise for the story. The article poses a challenge:

"So this reporter calls all serious whale researchers
and maritime theorists to come out of their labs and
studies, to abandon books and microscopes and take to
the waves in the name of truth and science.

Let's solve this tale of whale!"

Turn the page. On the left side a young girl works at setting up a camera on a small boat. She is clad in jeans, a t-shirt, and sunglasses. On the right side, a boy with hammer, nails and an illustrated plan for placing sound equipment on his boat is shown. Each is ready to embark on their search, with the means to document it. An angry, roiling sea soon brings them to a point of impact. Their boats are ruined. Their senses bring them back to the task at hand, The whale is within sight and sound. They want to prove it exists!

Realizing they both want the same thing, they manage to fashion a new boat from the strewn parts. The rest of this beautifully drawn tale is focused on the "hunt'. They manage to bring forward conclusive evidence that the whale does exist.

"Armed with tracking and recording equipment, these intrepid explorers
survived a mid-sea collision and joined forces to prove with sound and
image that the ocean still holds gifts unknown and teems with beasts
of beauty."

There is an added surprise chronicled on that same front page!

The very realistic graphite artwork will captivate 'readers' of this book. They bring a presence to the adventure that is both eerie and exciting. You can almost feel and smell the sea spray. Dramatic, immediate and engaging, it is a book to be savored again and again.

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