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  • Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale by Fiona Robinson
  • Deborah Stevenson
Robinson, Fiona. Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale; written and illus. by Fiona Robinson. Abrams, 2013. 32p ISBN 978-1-4197-0848-0 $17.95 R 6-9 yrs

Everything under the sea is excitedly preparing for the upcoming art show curated by Mr. Jackson Pollock—everything, that is, except the whale who’s swimming through the deeps as essentially a moving billboard for the festivities (“I’m just in advertising,” he says sadly). Encouragement from the plankton that’s usually the whale’s food leads to an interesting collaboration (motion from the whale’s flippers and tail makes the bioluminescent plankton glow) that gains a theme when the whale realizes that most marine life never gets to see the beauty of a starry night sky; the [End Page 234] resulting Van Gogh–reminiscent performance piece wows the underwater world. The spirited and slightly goofy dialogue (most of the text is in speech bubbles) adds zing to a fairly familiar plot of a creativity breakthrough, and kids will particularly appreciate the breezy treatment of the whale and plankton’s relationship (“Please go away before I eat you,” says the piqued whale). The watercolor and pencil art makes excellent use of the spreads’ wide horizontality; while the art projects and, indeed, the underwater world are on the literal side for such an artistic-themed story, there’s a murky charm to life in the briny deep. The story is amusing, but what’s particularly appealing here is the casual inclusion of a wide variety of approaches to art, making this an entertaining lead-in to art projects, especially those involving the natural world.



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pp. 234-235
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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