Friday, September 4, 2015

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 4th September 2015 - "The Whale" by Ethan and Vita Murrow (Big Picture Press)

A local legendary hoax or an amazing adventure waiting to happen? Our second book of the week is the truly stunning "The Whale" by Ethan and Vita Murrow.

The adventurous story starts with a blazing headline in a local newspaper. It's been 50 years since a gigantic spotted whale was seen swimming off the coast of a small seaside town. At the time, the two intrepid whale spotters were debunked as frauds but on the anniversary of their sighting, can two new adventurers discover the truth once and for all?

Ethan and Vita Murrow's "The Whale" truly doesn't look like any other children's book out there at the moment, save the possible exception of some of Shaun Tan's work. The amazing story, told largely wordlessly (aside from the aforementioned newspapers) is beautifully illustrated by Ethan Murrow, an amazing artist who chooses to work with pencils to produce the most stunning monochrome illustrations, packed with character and detail and looking like they're primed and ready to leap right off the page...

There be whales, there be!
...oops, there they go, doing just that!

In the atmospheric tale, two local kids set out in their own way and using their own methods to track down the great spotted whale and prove its existence. But there's an accident at sea and the two, a boy and a girl, run smack bang into each other's boats, scuppering their chances.

But there's still hope. Can the two work together? Can they combine forces as out to sea a great disturbance is seen in the distance?

It draws you in, it truly draws you in and begs you to tell the tale and interpret it in your own way. Charlotte and I love wordless picture books, particularly when they're this detailed and you can describe the story as it evolves, drinking in the atmosphere that leaves you almost feeling like your skin is salt-kissed, and you can hear the faint sounds of whalesong somewhere far off in the distance.

Gawd, how beautiful is this book?
It's quite a gutsy thing to do, putting out a children's book that looks like this AND relies on wordless storytelling, but this is an absolute triumph that truly should not be missed.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Girl and Boy working together furiously to combine their two shattered boats into one awesome whale-detecting vessel.

Daddy's favourite bit: Stunning artwork, a glorious and joyful story and a really unique feel truly mark this out as something very special. Do not pass this one by, it's utterly amazing!

The Whale

Written by Vita Murrow

Illustrated by Ethan Murrow

Published by Big Picture Press

Release Date: 1st September 2015

(Kindly sent to us for review by Big Picture Press)

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