Lothian Children’s, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Charlie loved the sea, and all the creatures that lived within it- seashells and seahorses, sharks and stingrays, crabs and crayfish. He loved the gentle tickly waves and those that crashed and trembled. But most of all, Charlie loved whales- minke whales, orcas, beluga whales and humpbacks, sperm whales and right whales, and especially the great blue whale. He loves to read about them, research them on the internet and play with his toy whale and imagine… But most of all, he wants to see one. Will his patience, persistence and perseverance pay off?
As the humpback highways of our east and west coasts reach their peak as over 30 000 whales make their way north to warmer waters to breed,, many, like me, will have been privileged to see these amazing creatures, and, just like Charlie will have waited in anticipation and then been overwhelmed with joy. For something that appears for just a few seconds, maybe as it breaches or just sends a plume of spray into the air, it gives immense pleasure and all the waiting is worth it as a lifelong memory is made. As well as being a story about waiting for a dream to come true, it is also one about having the patience to wait for something so fleeting, particularly in this world of instant gratification and click and collect.
Libby Gleeson’s words are lyrical, and Hannah Somerville’s illustrations are almost ethereal as they combine to make a story that is as magical as the whales themselves.