The Voyage of Whale and Calf
CSIRO Publishing, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
In the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Whale prepares to give birth to her first baby. In the 12 months since she first got pregnant, she’s swum thousands of kilometres from the freezing waters of Antarctica – a return journey she will make when Calf is big enough. The baby is born tail first, weighing as much as a small car, tiny compared to its mum who is as big as a bus but ginormous compared to a human baby.
This is just the start of a remarkable annual migration as as the Antarctic winter starts to lose its grip, both mother and baby head south to the rich feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean.
Written by a wildlife scientist with particular expertise in collecting whale snot, this is an intriguing tale of where and why these magnificent creatures are going as they enchant us with their majestic antics of breaching and tail-slapping as they move up and down the Humpback Highways of both our east and west coasts.
Brought back from the brink of extinction after relentless unchecked whaling, this is an intriguing introduction to these creatures that will inspire young readers to want to know more so that they become more than just seasonal tourist attractions. Both the information pages and the extensive teaching notes offer the opportunity to investigate further, both the life and life cycle of the humpback but also the other marine creatures it shares those icy waters with. Because it is the annual migration of the whales that particularly puts them in our spotlight, there is also scope to investigate where, why and how other creatures migrate. particularly such great distances or even to find out why a person would devote their professional life to investigating whale snot!
As usual, CSIRO Publishing have given us another superb read, one that asks more questions than it answers, and to the curious mind of the child, that is a perfect book!