Moby Dick: Chasing the Great White Whale

Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Andrew Glass. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-312-66297-4
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Kimmel (Even Higher!) works hard to make this classic accessible to young readers, distilling Melville’s sprawling epic into sturdy ballad-style verse: “Then Captain Ahab came on deck./ What happened to his leg?/ T’was bitten off by Moby Dick./ That’s why the whalebone peg.” Glass’s splendid spreads soften the story’s brutish aspects, which remain grim in Kimmel’s retelling: one attempt to kill Moby Dick drowns a seaman, and the next drowns Captain Ahab and the rest of the crew—all but Ishmael (“I heard the sighs and groans/ of all my friends and shipmates/ going down to Davy Jones”). Glass bathes everything in brilliant sunshine, painting the churning sea with aquas and greens and giving the white whale a sense of enormous bulk and strength. With their red noses and lumpy bodies, the seamen appear ridiculous in comparison to the majestic animal, giving weight to Ishmael’s concluding comment: “Respect all creatures, great and small, and leave the whales alone!” Parents should vet before reading aloud to sensitive children; for the stout of heart, it’s a fine introduction to the story. Ages 4–6. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 09/04/2012
Genre: Children's
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