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

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Review: Charlie's Whale

Charlie’s Whale is a gorgeous picture book about a young boy who holds onto a dream against seemingly impossible odds. It pays vibrant homage to the power of dreaming and patience.

Charlie is infatuated with whales of all types, and particularly the great blue whale, which is larger than the biggest dinosaur that ever roamed the earth. 

He and his brothers spend a lot of time at the seaside, playing, swimming, surfing and beachcombing. 

But even through all the fun of the beach, Charlie’s biggest desire is to see evidence of the gentle giants that live under the water. 

His passion is beautifully matched with divine illustrations and an incredibly rich, warm colour palette even though the subject matter exists primarily under the sea with its blues, greys and muted tones.

It’s impossible not to become lost in these pictures of home, Charlie’s family, the seaside town and the beach itself. The texture of the watercolour paper, smudgy layers of wash and sprinkles of paint, all contrast beautifully with fine pencil lines and the wonderfully deliberate placement of people, objects and sea creatures.

This book sparkles from start to finish - with the dancing of light on the water and beautifully rendered ocean waves, and also through the language and intent of this gorgeous and very relatable story. Words and illustrations are both a joy; the pairing of Libby Gleeson and Hannah Somerville is perfect. 

This stunning picture book is for every child who’s ever dreamed of diving into the depths of the ocean and meeting the incredible array of sea creatures within.

Title: Charlie’s Whale
Author: Libby Gleeson
Illustrator: Hannah Somerville
Publisher: Hachette, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734420886
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book