Age Range: 3 to 6
I loved The Storm Whale from the moment I first read it. It was a picture book that I just had to buy. It’s a heartwarming story about loneliness and friendship and the beautiful beach and seaside illustrations bring back some lovely childhood memories of holidays by the sea.
The Story: Noi lives with his dad (a fisherman) and six cats in a house on the beach. After a stormy night Noi finds a small whale stranded on the beach and takes it home. He puts the whale in the bath and takes care of it but he is worried that his dad will be angry when he finds the whale. Noi’s dad isn’t angry as he realises how lonely Noi has been. Noi and his dad take the whale back to the sea and then one day, while having a picnic together, Noi sees his friend again.
The Storm Whale has an easy to read text which captures the themes of friendship, loneliness and caring. Noi spends a lot of time alone as his dad works long hours. When Noi finds the whale he does everything he can to help him, he tells stories, plays him music (Handel’s Water Music!) and feeds him. The care and tenderness that Noi shows towards the whale is evident in the illustrations (especially the cover picture). When Noi’s dad discovers the whale in the bath he realises that Noi is lonely and gives him a wonderfully big hug. The final pictures show Noi and his dad doing things together, finding the whale has helped to strengthen their relationship.
The beautiful illustrations in this book evoke memories of childhood and show a less modern way of life. Noi’s simply furnished little house sits on the beach, the old fashioned bath has feet and Noi plays his music on a record player (“What’s that?” asked my daughter when we first read the story!). The beach is perfect – long, sandy and wild but my favourite illustration shows Noi and his dad sat in their rowing boat watching the whale. Their raincoats are a splash of yellow in the dark, choppy sea, it’s a lovely portrayal of togetherness.
One of my daughter’s first questions about the story was where Noi’s mummy was which gave us the opportunity to talk about different family structures. The Storm Whale has also provided us with opportunities to talk about friendship, caring and whales. My daughter has fun counting the cats on each page and has started to include whales in her own stories.
I love the warm feeling that I get after reading this book, I just want to give father and son a big hug. My daughter likes the happy ending and the fact that the whale is back with his friends.
Author / Illustrator: Benji Davies