The Fisherman & the Whale

illus. by Jessica Lanan. 48p. S. & S. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534415744.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—In this wonderfully illustrated imaginative tale, a father and son take their fishing boat out to sea. After a long day of fishing, the boy notices a distressed whale in the distance and although the father is eager to get home, the boy insists that they investigate. Upon approaching, they see that the whale is tangled up in fishing lines. In a dramatic rescue, the father frees the magnificent creature by cutting through the knotted lines with his knife. The day's events are wordlessly and beautifully conveyed in watercolor and gouache. The vastness and tranquility of the sea are portrayed in rich blue hues. Different perspectives are used to show life above and beneath the ocean's surface. While the little boat floats on the sea's surface, whales are seen swimming below. On one spread the focus narrows to show close-up reflections in the eyes of both the whale and the man as they observe each other. The sky shifts from gray to yellow as the day progresses, ending with a stunning sunset at the story's joyful conclusion. The author's note adds a helpful context to this fantasy.
VERDICT This impressive and eloquent tale is recommended for all picture book collections.

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