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Whale's Song [Paperback]

Dyan Sheldon
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 12.95
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Book Description

Oct. 27 1993 Red Fox Picture Books
Enthralled by her grandmother's story of seeing and hearing whales singing in the sea long ago, Lilly hopes to see them herself and to hear their mysterious songs.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this haunting, evocative picture book, Lilly's grandmother tells her that, when she was young, she used to leave gifts for the whales--"a perfect shell. Or a beautiful stone. And if they liked you, the whales would take your gift and give you something in return." Lilly's great-uncle Frederick claims that the story is "nothing but a silly old tale," that she shouldn't "be dreaming her life away." But one morning, Lilly, believing her grandmother's claim that "they were the most wondrous creatures you could ever imagine," drops a yellow flower into the water. " 'This is for you,' she called into the air," and later that night she sits waiting, like a mermaid on a rock, finally receiving a gift in return. Filling the night with their song, the whales call Lilly's name. Infused with the cadences of real speech, Sheldon's poetic text manages to overlay a homespun practicality with an ethereal, fairy-tale magic. The unique grandeur and beauty of these creatures, "as peaceful as the moon," are compellingly interwoven throughout the narrative. Newcomer Blythe's paintings are extraordinary. The play of light and shadow in his cozy interiors is delicately balanced against stunningly realistic faces--Lilly's purity and innocence, her elders' splendidly craggy countenances. Rendered in unusual perspectives, these vibrant panoramas of the sea and of the whales leaping from the moonlit water possess a rare luminosity and beauty that should not be missed. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-- Lilly's grandmother tells tales of singing whales who came from miles away in answer to a child's desire to see them dance across the waves. One night, Lilly hears the whales and watches breathlessly as they "leaped and jumped and spun across the moon." Then, waking from what she thinks is a dream, she hears them call her name. Sheldon's brief story seems to be a celebration of the joys of fantasy and the belief in magical happenings. It is enriched by Blythe's wonderfully evocative paintings, which range from warm, realistic close-up portraits to dramatically moonlit seascapes. But beyond the pleasures of the dreamlike mood, the book has little substance. There is no deeper level of meaning, no foundation is offered for the idea that whales are magical, and certainly in the dolphinlike behavior of the whales there is no information on the actual habits and habitats of these wondrous creatures of the deep. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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ILLY'S grandmother told her a story. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite picture book. April 30 2000
"Once upon a time... the ocean was filled with whales. They were as big as the hills. They were as peaceful as the moon."
So begins Lilly's grandmother, who goes on to tell her young granddaughter about a time not all that long ago, when she was a girl herself... a time when whales still sang and danced in the ocean.
In the length of a picture story, author Dyan Sheldon has succeeded in creating a haunting, unforgettable glimpse into a future that might come to be. She makes our hearts ache for a loss we haven't realized yet. Her poetic, evocative text delivers a powerful message, yet is never preachy.
Equally powerful are the stunning oil paintings of illustrator Gary Blythe. His Lilly is so astonishingly real, one can almost feel the warmth of her cheeks, the softness of her dark curls, the breath from her lips as she sleeps open-mouthed in moonlight. Blythe is equally at home depicting a convincingly detailed and cluttered sitting room, as he is offering a lonely beach occupied only by a single sea shell.
The Whales' Song is a power house of a book for all ages - an absolute gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, loving story, exceptional paintings. Jan. 16 2002
As a homeschooling parent I read this book with my children as we were doing a unit study on sound.
Whales have a the ability to make a much higher pitched sound than the human ear can hear. It is their song, or communicating which facinates us.
This book offers magnificent and realistic paintings which will delight your eyes as well as your heart.
The grandmother tells of the whales, is it real or fantasy? All the while a great uncle so blatently informs the little girl what whales were used for in the past.
As we know, whales have much larger brains then ours- who is to say they would not sing for a kind gesture from a loving stranger?
This book has found a special place in our home library, I hope it will for you or someone you love as well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not my niece's favorite Oct. 3 2000
By Amy
First, let me say that the illustrations in this book are exquisit. The oil paintings are absolutely fabulous. However, they are a little dark and my niece seems to have a hard time relating to them at times.
The story is good, but not excellent. The relationship between the main character and her grandmother is very well drawn. However, the book wavers between real life and the dream world. At the end of the book when the whales call the main character's name, we had to answer questions about whether the girl was going to live with the whales forever because they had called her.
This is not a bad book, but a bit too disquieting to become a favorite for us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beatriz and Constantin's review May 13 2000
When we first read this book, we played the sound of the whales for our 7 year old son Constantin, so he could relate to the story and its magic. The illustrations are beautiful and very powerful. This book also presents a lovely relationship between a little girl and her grandmother, both of them dreamers and believers who disregard whoever makes fun of them and their ideas. We read this book in Spanish and liked it so much that ordered it in English.
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