cover image If You Want to See a Whale

If You Want to See a Whale

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-731-9

Fogliano and Stead team up again to examine the relationship between patience and reward, trading the gardening theme of And Then It’s Spring for a maritime setting. The text resembles a series of brief poems, each beginning with the phrase of the title: “if you want to see a whale/ you will need a window/ and an ocean/ and time for waiting/ and time for looking/ and time for wondering ‘is that a whale?’ ” Stead’s pencil and linoleum prints—as delicate, understated, and imaginative as ever—take exciting creative license with Fogliano’s expressive writing. When the author cautions against getting too comfortable (“because sleeping eyes can’t watch for whales”), a redheaded boy—the one seeking the whale—is seen leaning over a yellow armchair, peering down into the pale green sea in which it bobs. Gentle irony courses through the story: when Fogliano warns against being sidetracked by fragrant wild roses or the possibility of pirates in the harbor, it’s clear that those “distractions,” while certainly different than the split-second magic of spotting a whale, are treasures in themselves. Ages 2–6. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (May)