'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Review: Welcome Home

There is something lyrical about whales. About the way they move, their sleek form, their haunting call. For a creature so large and powerful, they have an inherent vulnerability--and alas, even the world's oceans aren't large enough to protect them.

In Welcome Home, by award-winning author/illustrator Christina Booth, we meet a young lad entranced by the call of a Right whale as she cruises the ocean and the river surrounding his home.

He can hear her call when she is full of joy, but also when she is sad.

Her stories grow louder and wake him from his dreams. He heads to the seashore and the whale tells him her stories, her history, the darkness of her whaling past and the uncertainty of her future. All the young lad can say is: I'm sorry.

Tissues, please!

But this is not a book of sadness. This is a book of hope, of rebirth and a promising future, especially when children care and love so deeply. Can the Right whale learn to trust humans again? With hearts as big as this book's young hero, perhaps they can.

This is a book that will goosebump the skin. Christina Booth has created a storyline as lyrical as the whale herself, coupled with beautifully-rendered watercolour illustrations of life onshore and under the sea--swirling, curling pages of striking blues and fluid forms of the whale that are truly stunning.

I adored the beautiful word/image dance as I turned the pages of Welcome Home, and the final double-page spread in the book is equally enchanting, with whimsical sketches and author notes on her inspiration for the book, as well as interesting facts about the Right (baleen) whale. Kids will love exploring this information. I particularly loved learning that the Right whale loves to play.

A lusciously visual book, drenched in heart.

Title: Welcome Home
Author/Illustrator: Christina Booth
Publisher: Ford Street, $26.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2013
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781925000085
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book