Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Mordicai Gerstein
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
One morning, a boy and his father find a whale trapped in their fishing net. While his father worries about saving the net, the boy worries about the whale. His father returns their boat to shore, angry and worried about making a living without their only fishing net. After weighing his desire to help the whale against his knowledge that his father will be angry if he goes back, the boy decides to try to save the whale. Miraculously, he saves the whale, who leaps out of the water over and over, joyful to be free again.
The Boy and the Whale tells the tale of an empathetic young boy who has to make a difficult decision. Does he obey his father or try to save a dying whale’s life? The vibrantly colorful illustrations bring the reader right in to the story and give a humanizing presence to the trapped whale and its large, sad eyes. This story gives a glimpse into life in a fishing village story and succeeds in teaching compassion toward animals and the effect that humans can have on other living creatures.