The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein

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Children , Reviews

The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein

Title: The Boy and the Whale
By: Gerstein, Mordicai
Published: 2017
Call #: JPicture Gerst.M

Writer/illustrator Mordicai Gerstein, the Caldecott winner for the amazing The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, delivers yet another visually astounding picture book that mixes wonder with adventure. The story is relatively simple: in a seaside community, a fisherman’s son notices a whale tangled up in a net. Remembering a time when he almost drowned, the compassionate boy decides to defy his dad’s orders and help the dying creature by diving underwater and freeing it. What Gerstein brings to this stirring account about empathy is his cinematic eye for detail, knowing exactly where to place the figures on the page for maximum effect. Just look at that remarkable opening image of the kid spotting the struggling whale in the distance as the sun rises. Later there is a fantastic moment when he swims underwater and he looks right into the whale’s giant eye (every time I show the book to someone the person always says “wow” at that point). We need to turn the book vertically for the scene of the boy bravely cutting the net. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I must say that the book ends with a moment that makes the reader gasp because it is so absolutely powerful.


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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