Ben and the whales
Genre: Picture Books
Author(s): Mennen, Ingrid
Publisher(s): Tafelberg Publishers Ltd
Whales played in the ocean below the cliff paths where Ben and Grandpa had often walked. The windswept milkwood was their lookout. Mysterious and magnificent creatures, Grandpa would say, "flying giants of the sea!" Together they read stories about whales, made new pages for Grandpa's scrapbook, or went to the museum to see the whale skeleton. But just before summer things changed: Grandpa stayed in bed ... days passed. And then Grandpa died. Noticing that Ben finds it hard to say good bye, Dad takes Ben to the milkwood where Ben and Grandpa would often sit, and tells him a story: Long ago a whale-calf was born in their bay. Every day he frolicked and swam with his mother and an old humpback whale, but when the time came for the whales to travel back south, the old whale could not make the journey with the others. The whale calf had to say good bye too. This gentle story on bereavement will strike a chord with both children and adults alike.
Posted on: May 29, 2017
Have you ever stood on a seaside cliff and watched the whales? Something wondrous, majestic and yet loving and playful as well. Ingrid Mennen and her artist daughter present us with a story inside a story. A boy facing up to the death of his grandfather is helped by the realisation that all of us, just like the whales, have a journey to take through life. That is over-simplifying a picture book that is delicately worded and evocatively illustrated (with splendidly informative end-papers as well). Forgive the pun, but this is a whale of a book!