Show Us Where You Live, Humpback, written by Beryl Young illustrated by Sakika Kikuchi

Show Us Where You Live, Humpback
written by Beryl Young
illustrated by Sakika Kikuchi
Greystone Kids, 2021
978-1-77164-573-7 (hc) $22.95
for Preschool to Grade 2

Picture Book | Humpback Whales | Animal Behaviour, Biodiversity, Interconnectedness, Parent-Child Relationship

A mother and her young child overlook a bay and spot a humpback whale swimming with her calf. To their delight they discover that their parent-child relationship has many similarities to the bond between the adult mother and baby whale. Observing that the calf is getting larger, the child exclaims, “I am growing too, getting big, bigger. See how tall I am!” In response to the mother whale slapping the water with her flippers, the child plays in the water. “I make smashes and splashes. Water tickles my nose. I blink my eyes and laugh.” As the calf sleeps, safe beside her mother, bedtime also comes for the child. “I rest against my mother’s side. She sings to me. I close my eyes and sleep.” Learning, singing, swimming, blowing bubbles. It emerges that the lives of these particular underwater mammals are surprisingly much like our own.

Using a format where the mother observes and the child responds, Beryl Young’s lyrical text celebrates a child’s connection with whales. Perfect to read aloud, one is transported by the beauty and drama in the author’s wordplay. Helpful facts about humpbacks are included in a separate section.

Juxtaposed with the child’s environment on land,  Sakika Kikuchi’s alluring watercolour illustrations submerge readers into the blue realm of the deep ocean. “Now we will drift and dream of the wide sea and the whales… in this wondrous world we share.”

Senta Ross is a former elementary teacher and teacher-librarian.

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