Lilly listens to her grandmother’s tales of whales and longs to hear the creatures’ powerful songs for herself. This eloquent work celebrates the extraordinary relationship between a young girl and the whales that do eventually sing for her.
I picked this book up when I was teaching and bought it because the pictures are exquisite. Some of them could hang on your wall!
Following that, the story is emotive and beautiful, I always feel it when I read it. There is a haunting quality to it, the idea that the whales could call to you is spellbinding. It is easy to see why Lily is so intrigued by her Grandmothers tales and at the same time why her uncle is sceptical and gruff about it.
As Lily longs for her own encounter with the whales the pictures beautifully illustrate the yearning. The encounter with them is mesmerising.
I have recently read this to my nearly four year old and she enjoyed it, but in a totally different way to me. She was interested in; why was the uncle was cross? Why did Lily give the whales a flower? Do whales really talk? Can they really sing? But this is one of the great things about the story, that it brings such different things to those that read it. As she grows it will grow with her, and the beauty I see in it might, one day, be apparent to her too.
Verdict: Superb, evocative and yet simple story that will be treasured for a long time.
Reviewed by Helen