cover image Ibis: A True Whale Story

Ibis: A True Whale Story

John Himmelman. Scholastic, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-42848-4

Ibis is a young humpback whale, ``curious about everything in the ocean.'' She and her friend Blizzard grow up together, looking at starfish and making friends with people and boats. One day Ibis gets caught in a fishing net; after extended struggling, she breaks loose, but part of the net is caught in her mouth and wrapped around her tail. She suffers for weeks, unable to surface or to eat without difficulty and pain. Finally, Blizzard finds Ibis and pushes her to the surface, where two rafts full of people help keep her afloat and untangle the nets to set her free. Based on the true story of the first successful whale-entanglement rescue, which took place near Provincetown, Mass., in 1984, Himmelman's ( Amanda and the Witch Switch ) soft, lively watercolors are very nicely composed. Although textual and illustrative personification throughout most of the book is strained, Himmelman's account of the rescue itself--in both words and pictures--is completely engrossing. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)