This post was originally written for Pen and Fable
Where land becomes sky and the sky becomes sea,/ I first saw the whale …/ and the whale first saw me./ And high on the breeze came his sweet-sounding song – / ‘I’ve so much to show you, if you’ll come along.‘
The Tale of the Whale is magnificent. A child and a whale begin upon a magical journey, sailing across oceans, diving into the deep. They see a polar bear, dance with dolphins and splash high into the spray. Theirs is a journey that conjures pure joy.
Then the whale grows hungry, opening his cavernous mouth to swallow up the ocean. But not only does he swallow food, but he also takes in the debris of human trash.
The whale wants humans to know.
In a delicate shift, the tone of the book changes here. The ocean and its creatures are suffering amongst plastic waste, and nobody is there to help. But the child promises to tell the whale’s tale.
The Tale of the Whale is empowering and, despite the cautionary warning, ends with a positive outlook. It is an utterly beautiful story that belongs on every child’s bedside table.