Shelley Gill, author
Author, adventurer, whale detective, pony wrangler, dog musher and all around fun hog, Shelley Gill lives her books! Shelley is the author of several children's books, including ALASKA, HAWAI'I, and SITKA ROSE. Shelley lives with her family on a ridge above Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska.
Read more about Shelley.
Ann Barrow, illustrator
Barrow has taught courses in children's book illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She’s also illustrated, Ghost Horse and Red, White, and Blue Good-Bye. She currently resides in South Dartmouth, MA.
Read more about Ann.
If your science class is anything like mine, your students are fascinated by the magnificent blue whale. Big Blue is an enjoyable story that integrates sound scientific information about the ocean's largest mammal with the universal theme of dreams becoming reality. In Big Blue, a young heroine dreams of swimming with a blue whale. Her adventure takes her and biologist friends to Baja, Mexico. Snorkeling in the warm waters, the heroine encounters eels, skates, and dolphins in her search for the blue whale. Beautiful colored illustrations take the reader along with the heroine on her adventure. This book is unique in that it is not entirely about whales and other marine life. There is room for many classroom discussions about dreams, goal-setting, and character traits such as persistence, dedication, and responsibility. If you like to integrate good literature into your science class programs, Big Blue is highly recommended.
School Library Journal
While it seems unlikely that a child could actually fulfill a dream of swimming in the ocean alongside a blue whale, this story is evidently based on an event that really did happen to the author's nine-year-old daughter. Kye narrates, telling readers that she knows "just about everything a kid can know about whales." She goes on to explain many facts about their size and bodies. Kye's mother facilitates her daughter's dream. "My mom… drives a whale-research boat in Alaska. She hangs out with marine biologists." Soon they are part of a small research trek to Baja, Mexico, where the dream is realized. "Time stops. This moment belongs to Big Blue and me. I twirl like a manta ray in her surge, dancing in the depths of her deep, blue sea." Watercolor and colored-pencil views covering the full spreads provide fine perspective in scenes of a whale skeleton suspended from a museum ceiling and children and whales swimming underwater. More adept at drawing landscapes and animals than humans, Barrow creates a good sense of place as she depicts the child at home the trip by Jeep to the study camp in Mexico, and the undulating figure of the impressive whale. The possibility of an ordinary child living out such a grand dream makes for a nice adventure story, and the book adeptly blends considerable information about whales into the telling. Children will enjoy the package for personal reading, and it should find good use in classrooms as well.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-170-3 EPUB
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Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2