When I heard her call, it came from the river,
echoing off the mountain like a whisper
while the moon danced on the waves.
A young boy hears a whale voice, calling from far away. The whale speaks just to him. She tells of history, of whales once hunted to the edge of extinction. It is a siren call to the boy, floating into his sleep, filling him with joy, with knowledge and sadness. The whale is getting closer and the boy waits by water’s edge. His temporary discomfort in the cold morning is nothing to the danger of her journey. She comes and speaks to him alone seeking understanding. The boy can only apologise for the past. Then she is gone. But not for long. This time, she speaks to all the early morning watchers, introduces her calf. This time, she and her baby are safe. Illustrations are in watercolour, ink and crayon using rich blues and sunrise yellows to link boy and whale. A final spread shares the story of the story, some history and some facts about Southern Right Whales and their connection with the Derwent River in Hobart, where this story is set.
‘Welcome Home’ is the story of a boy and a whale, of hope and trust. The boy can hear what his family cannot. Young children will love the connection the boy has with this sea giant, while older readers will understand the environmental message behind the story. There is potential for them to be involved in the future, not bound by the past. ‘Welcome Home’ includes themes for many school levels, including life cycles, conservation, human responsibility and more. The illustrations are soft and dreamy and though ‘Welcome Home’ showcases a sad past, it points to a future that is not without hope. Recommended for primary-schoolers.
Welcome Home, Christina Booth
Ford St Publishing 2013 ISBN: 9781925000092
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author