FICTION

A Small Blue Whale

illus. by Lisa Mundorff. 32p. Knopf. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524713379.
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PreS-Gr 1—A small blue whale is alone in a vast sea and wishes and waits for a friend. He wonders what friendship might look like…feel like…taste like…sound like? What do friends do? Do they travel together, count stars or raindrops? The whale hears penguins playing and tries to join in, but eventually strands himself on the ice. Friendship comes in the form of hundreds of penguin friends who come to his rescue. The art is the strength of this book, with a succession of digitalized, watery painted scenes that impress upon readers the depth of water, the changing nature of the clouds, filtered light, the size and solitude of the whale, the immediacy of multitudes of friendly faces, and a "flurry of frozen confetti" in celebration from the clouds. Text includes descriptive vocabulary for growing learners—"a glint of gold," an "inkling of orange," and "radiant ribbons of red," as the whale "basked" in the sun. A light palette contrasting with the black and white of penguins emphasizes the whale's new friends.
VERDICT A sweet and satisfying offering suggested for general purchase in all libraries; an upbeat read-aloud for young readers learning about friendships and feelings.

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