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Author: Turk, Evan
Separated from her mother, a young whale swims the oceans for decades until she finds a young girl who shares her vision of one planet for which all are responsible.
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/18)
School Library Journal (05/01/18)
Booklist (+) (04/15/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2018 *Starred Review* Turk’s compelling picture book begins with a blue whale cow that soon gives birth to a calf, drawn in red. “One heart beats. Two hearts beat. heartbeat . . . heartbeat . . . Two hearts, one song.” The whale and her calf, each illustrated with a visible red heart, live in a colorful blue ocean, and their song is depicted in swirls of red, yellow, and blue threads. Mother and baby swim together and sing together until sharp, white harpoons put an end to the older whale’s song and heartbeat, leaving the calf alone in the vast ocean. After the cow is killed, the illustrations change to black-and-white. One hundred years pass, and it is a human child who feels a connection and shows compassion for the plight of the whale. She and others begin to understand we have “one planet, one responsibility” to protect our earth and living creatures. Charcoal and pastels on black paper, collage, and tracing paper combine to produce forceful images. In an author’s note, Turk explains his compelling reasons for creating his powerful message: a symbolic trip aboard the last wooden whaleship in 2014 opened his eyes to the reality of the whaling industry and the turbulent relationship between humans and whales. Here, instead, he offers up a message of peace. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 Gr 2–5—Turk employs an extended metaphor of shared heartbeats among living beings to demonstrate that we are all a part of the same world. Using pastel and charcoal on black paper, Turk introduces a whale and her calf, whose heartbeats are in sync and swim through a blurring symphony of sound. Jagged white harpoons disrupt this harmony, striking the mother whale like lightning and shattering their connection. She is hauled aboard a whaling vessel and the calf, who is no longer vibrant but a pale ghost of herself, now has a hole where once her heart beat. The artwork becomes stark as collage cutouts depict the human world and how it uses the parts of a whale. From lamp oil to machine lubricant, the ghost calf swims through the very worst of human atrocities for 100 years. It's only in the present, when a young girl sings out to the now adult whale, that she discovers her song and heartbeat again. As other people sing along with the young girl, joining the whale, the connection between all our heartbeats lends an air of hope. An author's note provides a thorough summary explaining vital historical details regarding the whaling industry and inspiration for writing this book. Without this note, many readers may be confused since Turk's writing is more lyrical than informational. This is a high-concept book and will work best when an adult shares in the reading experience with a child. VERDICT A beautiful and poignant piece about humanity's past and future, this is best suited for perceptive readers with a passion for the environment.—Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.