CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 18 . . . . January 16, 2015
When a little girl goes to visit her grandparents on Quadra Island in British Columbia, all she wants is to see are the whales. As each day passes, she hopes she'll get the chance to whale watch, but even when she isn't able to spot any of the majestic creatures, there are plenty of other marvels on the island to keep her entertained and entranced.
Where Are the Whales?, by Caroline Bridges, details several different locations and sceneries of Quadra Island. The main character and her grandparents visit Rebecca Spit, Cape Mudge Village, and other local destinations, giving the little girl ample opportunity to learn about the island and enjoy its wonders. For readers familiar with these areas, seeing the girl visit known locations will be fun and can open the way for discussion about the reader's own memories of time spent on the island.
While the story does have its interesting points, the physical layout of Where Are the Whales? is not very aesthetically pleasing. The images done by Sarah James offer straightforward depictions of the girl's experiences, but there is nothing vibrant or unique about the illustrations that will really catch readers' attention. Likewise, the text in this story is large and placed mostly on blank white pages, a design which some readers may find unappealing. In addition, some of the pages (such as the story's descriptions of what the girl and her grandparents do on Thursday of the week long visit) are completely full of text, making the book seem wordy because of the overcrowded pages.
The plain design of this book may turn some readers away, but the story, itself, accomplishes the task of highlighting various locales of Quadra Island and promoting both the island's known and hidden treasures. Where Are the Whales? may not be an ideal read for everyone, but for those familiar with this area of British Columbia, or for those interested in seeing some of what Quadra Island has to offer, this book could be an exciting way to introduce the scenery and learn about some Canadian landmarks as well.
Meredith Cleversey is a librarian in Cambridge, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.
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