THE WHALE CHILD
by Keith Egawa
and Chenda Egawa
North Atlantic Books
Middle Grade Environmental
These pages pack a powerful message with a focus on environmental issues facing the world's oceans and the importance of them to our planet.
Shiny is born as a very intuitive and caring whale, who learns all about life in the ocean and the balance of nature from his mother. His destiny has him then turning into a human, where he becomes the brother of a girl and teaches her about the importance of life in the ocean and exposes the troubles the underwater world faces thanks to pollution and more.
While this book is advertised for middle graders, I see this one for slightly younger readers, ages 6 to 9.
The traditional storytelling of Indigenous lore flows beautifully through these pages. Nature, spirits and life are interlinked in a wondrous way, which opens up a different view to the world around us and the balance between man and nature. In this book, the importance of the ocean and life in it take center stage as the impact modern life has had is discussed. The authors manage to bring all of this across in a way young readers/listeners will be able to understand and open up the door to discussions surrounding water pollution and such.
Bright illustrations accompany the text, allowing listeners to sink into the described scenes visually and gain a better understanding of what is being described. This is a great book for groups to open up environmental topics, especially those relating to seas and oceans. The text is rather heavy four younger listeners, but on the other hand, a bit light and short for older ones. So, I'm placing this one somewhere in the middle and see it as a good read-aloud.
The relationship between Shiny and 'his sister' is one readers will be able to connect with...and it introduces them to the thoughts of this type of storytelling and beliefs as well. Of course, this one is very message driven, and that's what makes it great for classrooms and homeschoolers as well.
And here they are...