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

Friday 13 May 2022

Review: The Voyage Of Whale And Calf

This is a wonderful non-fiction picture book depicting the first year of a humpback whale’s life. We read about Calf’s birth in the warm waters off Australia and then follow mother Whale and Calf as they migrate to the icy waters of Antarctica, over the course of the year. 

Through these gentle, toothless ocean giants we become aware of the challenges and awesomeness of marine creatures.  

This is a beautifully written story which invites us to care deeply about the characters of Whale and Calf. 

Rather than anthropomorphising, we are brought on board through interesting facts and wording along with delightful illustrations. Readers are encouraged to engage with underwater life and to take a good look at the fascinating things that happen in this foreign, marine world.

The limited and mostly muted colour palette is in keeping with the ‘sameness’ of the marine environment that Whale and Calf inhabit for a lot of the story (it’s a very long way from the coast of Australia to Antarctica!) Delightful pencil drawings bring to life the whale characters and other marine creatures – the end-papers of Calf frolicking and cavorting are quite gorgeous. Warmer, brighter colours depicting sunsets and summer landscapes, are poignant and welcome when they appear on the page and have the effect of lifting the reader out of the ocean and into the skyline and outer environs.

A glossary at the end of the book explains in more detail any unfamiliar terms used within the story. It also elaborates on some interesting tidbits about the amazing humpback whale. I did not know that these creatures are toothless!

This informative and beautiful glimpse into the marine world will be a welcome addition to the classroom and bookshelf.  

Title: The Voyage Of Whale And Calf
Author: Vanessa Pirotta
Illustrator: Samantha Metcalfe
Publisher: CSIRO $24.99
Publication Date: April 2022
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781486315109
For ages: 6 - 9
Type: Junior Non-Fiction