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Sheryl McFarlane
Illustrated by Ron Lightburn Victoria (B.C.), Orca Book Publishers, 1991. 32pp, galley, $16.95
ISBN 0929501-66-4. CIP

Subject Headings:
Whales-Juvenile fiction.
Grandfathers-Juvenile fiction.
Death-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Irene Aubery

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

This a quiet mood story set on the west coast. An old man, who lives by the sea, fills in his days by tending his garden and watching the whales when they return, each year, to swim in the strait in front of his cottage. But his life takes on new meaning when his daughter and her baby girl come to live with him. As the little girl grows and learns from her grandfather, a warm bond of love and companionship develops between them. And when the old man dies, mother and daughter continue the tradition of watching the whales.

In a style that is simple yet moving, McFarlane touches upon the themes of aging and loneliness, death and rebirth, and love and sharing between the elderly and the young.

The pictures are a beautiful enhancement to the text. They capture the poignancy and timelessness inherent in the text's message. Even the soft colours, sometimes dark, sometimes bright, sensitively reflect the various moods of the story.

Irene Aubrey, National Library of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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