Dario and the Whale

Cheryl Lawton Malone, illus. by Bistra Masseva. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-1463-4
Inspired by an encounter with a right whale on a Cape Cod beach, first-time author Malone offers a quiet story about isolation and friendship. Each spring, “Dario and his mother move to the seashore.” While the story doesn’t get into specifics, details like Dario’s green-and-yellow jacket and Portuguese-inflected speech suggest that his mother, a cook, is a migrant worker from Brazil. Dario has trouble befriending other children, and Malone’s clipped sentences shift between Dario’s story and that of a right whale that has made a similar seasonal journey. Malone’s parallel structure and Masseva’s naif paintings are equally attentive to the actions of both whale and boy (“When Dario whistles, the whale spouts. Dario waves, the whale breaches”). The fleeting nature of this relationship soon makes itself known (“They migrate.... They leave at the end of May,” a girl tells Dario), but the magic of the encounter, the hope of a future meeting, and the possibility of friendship with the girl conclude the story on an uplifting note. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Clelia Gore, Martin Literary Management. Illustrator’s agency: The Organisation. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-8075-1464-1
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