Saturday, September 18, 2021
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The Tale of the Whale

The Tale of the Whale
Karen Swann (author), Padmacandra (illustrator)
UQP, $24.99

If you want to motivate your kids (aged 4 and up) to be eco activists – try The Tale of the Whale. It’s a clarion call to us all to think about our oceans and their creatures and to stop our seas being the garbage tips for our over-indulgent lifestyles.

The call comes in the form of a friendship and an adventure, and in some cleverly conceived rhyme. A child spots a whale and the whale asks the child to come into the ocean. There is much to see!

The pair dance with dolphins, splash at seagulls, dive through a ship wreck, float through “carpets of colours”; the sea a thing of beauty and teeming with life at every turn.

Inevitably, there’s a twist to the tale and a sad conclusion in sight if nothing changes. The entreaty to ensure a happier ending is artfully done.

Illustrator Padmacandra said the layering of waxy crayons with soft oil pastels on top worked well to create the detailed underwater scenes and these textures added psychological depth, interest and sensitivity. “It reflects the way that nature is.”

This is a beautiful book with the powerful message that we must befriend the sea and sea life – and start a chain reaction of care by speaking out.

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books@ssh.com.au

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