In this wordless children’s picture book, a fisherman and his son haul in nets of fish on their boat. The boy glances up and, to his dismay, sees a whale floating nearby. He urges his father to investigate. As their boat approaches the whale, father and son notice that the creature’s mouth is trapped shut with fishing lines.
The whale and the humans look at each other, and a connection is formed. In a heroic rescue (readers will have to suspend their disbelief), the fisherman dives into the water and, after much effort, frees the whale from numerous fishing lines and other debris. The liberated whale swims away as the exhausted fisherman flails to the surface. His son throws him a ring buoy and hauls him into the boat. In a majestic, final scene, the whale jubilantly leaps out of the water close to the boat, and the fisherman and his son waves ecstatically.
In the author’s notes, Jessica Lanan shares details about how environmental devastation affects the world’s whale population. She writes, “It is very important to me that this story is not just the tale of one whale’s rescue, but a reflection of the environmental harm that we humans unwittingly cause and the deep empathy that can reconnect us to other living things across the bounds of size, habitat, and species.”
Christian parents and children will see in Lanan’s emotive watercolor paintings and in her call to care for the environment a reflection of God’s amazing creation and his command that people be stewards of the earth and all creatures. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
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