The Great Rock Whale, by Christine Paice

Deep beneath the ocean
lies the Great Rock Whale.
No one knows he’s there.

Many, many years ago a giant whale travelled from Antarctica up the east coast of Australia. He travelled through the deep water, meeting all manner of familiar and unfamiliar sea creatures. But it was his family he was in search of, and though he called to them, there was no answer. He rested under a cliff. Years passed and the Great Whale woke, breathing deeply, blowing high. Surely now, his family would find him. Each double page spread is full of colour with one third of the spread in matt colour and including text and a small white sketch. The remaining two thirds of each spread features colourful oils showing the Great Whale’s journey. The interface between the two sections of each spread conjures wave spume.

The Great Rock Whale gives life to the story behind the Kiama Blow Hole on the south coast of New South Wales. When the weather is wild, the blow hole ‘blow’ is spectacular. Even on calm days, the ‘blow’ can be high. I’m sure there are plenty of documented geological explanations for the development of a blow hole, but how much more lovely is the idea of a sleeping whale calling to his kin as they pass up and down the coast during the warmer months of the year? This is a beautiful book. The story is poetic, the illustrations warm and evocative. The final opening provides information about the annual migration of several species of whales. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers.

The Great Rock Whale, Christine Paice Ill Wendy O’Malley
Lothian Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780734411037

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

The Great Rock Whale

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