Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale

Fiona Robinson. Abrams, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0848-0
Whale, who makes Eeyore look positively effervescent, has been hired to serve as a cetacean billboard calling for entries to “The Hugest Art Show in the Deep & Briny.” Everyone from Eel to Wrasse takes up the challenge with the avidity of RISD students on Red Bull (“I’ll use these corals as part of my living sculpture at the art show. The audience will love it!” exclaims Wrasse) while Whale looks on with envy: “I wish I could make something too, but I’m just in advertising.” What Whale needs is a muse, and he gets a bunch of them in the form of bioluminescent phytoplankton, who help him create a performance piece that becomes a sensation. At its core, Robinson’s (What Animals Really Like) story is a tried and true tale of a wallflower realizing his potential. But her understated, offbeat voice and visuals—a mashup of classicism and graphic novel sensibilities—makes this a standout: up-to-the-minute modern in its irreverence and offhandedness, yet timeless in its understanding of a character’s yearning. Ages 4–8. Agent: Barbara Markowitz Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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