The Fisherman and the Whale
The Fisherman and the Whale
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Annotation: In this wordless picture book, a fisherman finds a whale caught in fishing nets and sets it free.
Catalog Number: #186086
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-534-41574-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-534-41574-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018035262
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this dramatic wordless tale, a commercial fisherman and (presumably) his son fish with a large net. When the boy notices their lines have entangled a whale, the father dives in to free the creature. Lanan's watercolor and gouache paintings are expansive and cinematic; mostly full-bleed spreads place readers at the center of the action. An afterword provides more information on whale entanglement and human-caused environmental damage.
Kirkus Reviews
Lanan's wordless narrative pulls viewers right into the choppy waves of her gouache-and-watercolor world as a man and a pre-adolescent kid haul fish-laden nets into their boat. Their shared light skin tone and reddish-brown hair signal a familial relationship. As the day winds down, the child notices what readers have been observing: A whale is entangled in underwater lines connected to traps for shellfish. While the father would prefer to depart, the child insists that they help the animal. Lanan employs a variety of perspectives and page designs to build suspense and maintain interest. Circular compositions depicting the tilting vessel on white backgrounds—as if glimpsed through a telescope—are balanced on either side of the gutter. These give way to double-page spreads of the blue ocean depths that bleed off the page. Action is observed from the air, underwater, and at middle range, with a front seat to the rescue above and below the surface. At times the book must be turned vertically to grasp the scale of the operation. Endpapers provide a satisfying symmetry related to featured characters. In a concluding note, the author asks readers to "suspend your disbelief and read this story as a fable rather than a literal guide." She explains some liberties taken in service of layout and cautions the audience against attempting such a response. Her failure to specifically locate her "fable" or to represent realistic maritime traffic—there's only ever the one boat—may leave coastal readers unmoored.This compelling fictional introduction raises awareness and empathy for a very real environmental problem. (Picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
Lanan (Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet) tells her wordless tale in strong, confident watercolors. A small fishing boat bobs on gray waves as a man and a boy empty a net full of fish. Below them, a humpback whale gets tangled in the creel lines. A striking vertical spread shows the animal immobilized and helpless, the water dark and deep beneath it. Back on the boat, the boy spots the whale and persuades the captain to act. The boat approaches the animal, and Lanan stops the action with two poignant close-ups that underline their shared creatureliness: one shows the captain-s eye, which carries a reflection of the entangled whale; the other shows the whale-s eye reflecting tiny images of the humans. The father dives to set the whale free, and the whale repays his rescue with a spectacular display. Lanan-s cinematic storytelling pace never flags. She distills the global problem of sea life trapped by nets into a tightly focused narrative in which those who caused the damage are able to save the animal they hurt-a rescue that kids will imagine carrying out themselves (though an author-s note warns them not to try dangerous dives). Ages 4-8. Agent: Ed Maxwell, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (May)
School Library Journal Starred Review
PreS-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. Gaye Hinchliff, King County Library System, WA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (5/1/19)
Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 1.0
Interest Level: P-2

Jessica Lanan’s dreamy and dramatic watercolor paintings bring to life a wordless story about wonder in the natural world.

A fisherman takes his son for a trip out on the water. When they encounter a whale entangled at sea, they realize a connection that transcends the animal kingdom.

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