If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Lynn: So, I’m a mad fan of this duo – Fogliano and Stead! It started last year with And Then It’s Spring which I loved with a passion and gave to every child I know. I was lucky to get the galley for If You Want to See a Whale (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter 2013) at Midwinter, read it immediately and have been waiting impatiently since then to write about it.
This has the same rich sparseness of their first book. I know, that sounds like a contradiction of terms but it is not. Both the line drawings and the text are deceptively simple at first glance but reveal imaginative treasures with a closer look. Lots of white space, Fogliano’s exquisitely chosen words and Stead’s airy illustrations unite to create a sense of the wonders around us if we just take the time to look.
“If you want to see a whale
you will need a window
and an ocean
and time for waiting
and time for looking
and time for wondering “is that a whale?”
There is much to tempt the small boy and the dog away from looking only for a whale and that is not a bad thing. Persistence is rewarded at the end in a heart-swelling reveal but this is truly a celebration of the splendid wealth available to all who take the time to look and to wonder. Can you think of a better book to get us all ready for summer? Here’s wishing all of you some unscheduled days to just enjoy the journey.
Cindy: It’s a beautiful day here in west Michigan, if cool, and my husband is putting in the dock. I’ve just rowed our row boat down the bayou we live on and I was grumpy about having to come inside to get my part of the blog post done. But now? NOW? I need to find a dog and head back out in the row boat to spend the rest of the afternoon looking for a whale. Fogliano’s story was just what I was in the mood to read and Stead’s illustrations are charming. I’m a fan of wood block art and this whole book just makes me smile. I’m sure to get distracted, like the boy in the book, and take my eyes off the water to look at cloud shapes and smell the flowers but I’ve got a three day weekend stretching ahead and surely there’s time to find a whale in that…it can’t hurt to try.