Following Papa's Song

illus. by Gianna Marino. 40p. Viking. Apr. 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780670013159.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Little Blue, a young humpback whale, is worried about his first long migration up the coast, and he is scared he will be separated from Papa in the big ocean. As with human families on adventures, Little Blue has many questions that need to be answered and needs to be reassured that everything will be fine. What will they see on their journey? Can Little Blue keep up? How will they know the way? What is down below in the dark areas? Little Blue continues to ask questions, the most pressing of which is "what if I get lost?" Papa reminds him to listen for his song as they travel. But can Little Blue hear Papa's song? Stunning artwork takes readers into the lush, inviting waters filled with marine life swimming effortlessly across the pages. The blend of text and vivid mixed-media illustrations make this original story a heartwarming reminder of how children learn to trust and listen for papas' songs in our lives. This is a story for all ages to enjoy. What a wonderful way to use science in the lower grades. A top choice for any library.—Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Whale Little Blue is awaiting the whale song that Papa tells him signifies the start of their migration. After they begin swimming, Little Blue gets separated from his dad but remembers Papa's admonition to listen for his song, and they're ultimately reunited. It's a somewhat facile story; the real draw is the painterly mixed-media illustrations in a deep oceanic palette.

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